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Crime News

Did Granny Killer Suspect Lois Riess Already Have Her Third Murder Victim Picked Out?

"I thought she was a new best friend," Bernadette Mathis said about suspect Lois Riess — who allegedly killed her husband in Minnesota and shot her Florida doppelganger before they met.

By Gina Tron

The Minnesota grandma who is accused of killing her husband and a Florida woman who was her doppelganger also had her sights set on a third victim, officials believe.

That detail became available to the public this week when the State Attorney's Office in Florida released over 2,600 pages of documents about Lois Riess, who was arrested in April after a month-long manhunt.

Riess, 56, was captured in the beach resort community of South Padre Island, Texas in April by two members of the U.S. Marshal Service, according to the Associated Press. According to the new documents, Riess allegedly made a new friend in that community, and authorities believe the woman may have narrowly missed becoming a third murder victim.

She had dinner with Bernadette Mathis, 65, who she met during her short stint in Texas. She even stayed in the woman's guest room just days before her arrest, according to the Star Tribune in Minneapolis.

"I had no idea. I thought she was a new best friend. I didn't think she was going to do anything to me," Mathis told WINK-TV. "We sat in my hot tub, she stayed in my guest bedroom, and the next morning I took her to breakfast."

The two had plans to meet later that week. 

Authorities say Riess was on the run from two other murders when she met Mathis. First, she allegedly shot her husband David Riess, 54, to death in their rural Blooming Prairie, Minnesota home in March. Police said Riess then stole her husband's white 2005 Cadillac Escalade, which was found abandoned in Florida, according to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. Reiss, who authorities say has a gambling addiction, is accused of stealing $11,000 from her husband after he died. It’s unclear if that was the motive behind his murder.

Riess then allegedly murdered a second person: Pamela Hutchinson, 59 of Bradenton, Florida.  Hutchinson was found dead inside a timeshare condo in Fort Myers Beach on April 9, according to the News-Press in Fort Myers. Investigators believe Riess shot and killed Hutchinson to assume her identity and that she targeted the woman because the two look alike. Just like with Mathis, Riess had dinner with Hutchinson before being spotted spending time at her home, authorities say.

Reiss then allegedly stole Hutchinson's credit cards and her car, which she drove to Texas. 

Riess was extradited to Florida after her April 19 arrest and has been charged with murder, grand theft, grand theft of a motor vehicle and criminal use of personal identification. She pleaded not guilty to the murder charge in May.

[Photo: South Padre Island Police Department]