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Riess's possible third target: 'I was so fooled'

Posted at 6:18 PM, Jun 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-20 10:16:37-04

Four in Your Corner spoke with the woman who said she befriended accused murderer Lois Riess in South Padre Island, Texas -- the woman investigators said could have been Riess's next target.

Lois Riess is accused of murdering her husband in Minnesota before driving down to Fort Myers Beach and murdering a tourist to steal her identity.

On Monday, the State Attorney's Office released documents revealing a timeline of when Riess may have killed her Fort Myers Beach Victim -- Pamela Hutchinson -- and how the murders of Hutchinson and Riess' husband are strikingly similar.

The woman who befriended Riess in Texas, who didn't want to be identified, spoke to Fox 4 by phone and said she was eating dinner at Liam's Steakhouse on South Padre Island when Riess struck up a conversation with her.

"She came up to the bar where I was having dinner and said something like "Well, I guess we're both dining alone." She's very, I guess you could say friendly? Outgoing?" the woman said.

She said Riess was going by the name "LaDonna" and told her she was grieving her husband's death in Minnesota, then headed to Fort Myers Beach before showing up on South Padre Island.

"She said she was a widow. I'm a widow as well, and that's how we kind of connected. But I didn't know she was a widow because she killed her husband," she said.

The woman said she drove Riess back to the Motel 6 she was staying in that night, and they made plans to see each other again.

"Friday the 13th, we had dinner again at the same spot. And Friday the 13th is really my lucky day, because she did not kill me," the woman said.

That night at Liam's, the woman said she didn't feel right, and the bartenders there think Riess put something in her drink.

"Maybe she wanted an excuse to come home with me. I don't remember how we talked about how she was going to come back to my house," the woman said.

Riess ended up sleeping in the guest bedroom of the woman's home.

"She saw I had a lot of security cameras in my house, and maybe that saved my life. I don't know," she said.

Text messages seized as evidence by detectives show the two discussing other plans together. 

"Would love to keep in touch,' Riess wrote in one message. In another, she said, "Guess where I'm dining my friend wish you were also." The woman responded, "let me guess, Liam's."

The woman said she and Riess planned another dinner, but as the time got closer, she didn't hear from her.

When she got to Liam's that evening, a waiter broke the news to her.

"He said 'Oh my gosh, I'm so sorry.' Then he told me that she had been arrested for double murder," she said.

"I can't describe the feeling I had in my stomach. I had the shakes. I was in a state of shock. I just couldn't believe it," the woman said. "I just feel like I dodged a bullet."

The woman said a detective told her if Riess died her hair dark brown, Riess could probably pass as her look-alike. 

Inside Riess's Motel 6 room, investigators found two guns, ammo, a holster, duct tape, rubber gloves, and what appeared to be a trophy.