(NEW YORK) — The ex-stepdaughter of a Florida woman shot dead — allegedly by a woman seeking to steal her identity — said she was “in total shock” to learn what happened to her beloved family member.
Lois Riess, 56, is wanted for allegedly fatally shooting her husband in Minnesota and then killing and stealing the identity of 59-year-old Pamela Hutchinson in Florida.
With Riess still on the run, Hutchinson’s former stepdaughter, Robin Barry, told ABC News she feels very nervous.
“I’m just afraid she’s gonna get desperate,” she said of Riess. “Because she might feel the need for another person’s identification … and hurt someone else, somebody else’s family or loved one.”
Barry said Hutchinson and her father had been married for 20 years. They divorced two years ago, she said, but “my dad never stopped loving her.”
Barry was about 25 years old when Hutchinson came into her life, she said. She remembers Hutchinson “as a loving, caring, vibrant person,” with a memorable laughter and smile.
“She was so good to my girls,” Barry said of Hutchinson’s relationship with her daughters, now ages 21 and 19.
Hutchinson had “been around since the day they were born,” Barry said. “She was just fabulous and loved my girls to pieces.”
Barry said Hutchinson had moved from Virginia to Florida a year ago after the divorce.
“She really liked doing a lot for charity work,” Barry said. “Trying to make things better in the world.”
After Riess allegedly killed her husband in Minnesota, she allegedly stole his money and then drove to Fort Myers Beach, Florida, authorities said. There, Riess met Hutchinson and then allegedly killed her and stole her ID, credit cards and car, said the Lee County, Florida, Sheriff’s Office.
Barry said she’s now constantly checking her phone “looking for an update, hoping she’s been caught.”
“I don’t understand why somebody who’s not a professional can evade the law for this amount of time,” she said. “It’s just mind-blowing.”
After allegedly killing Hutchinson, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office said Riess used her victim’s ID to withdraw $5,000. On April 6, Riess arrived at a Hilton hotel in the Ocala, Florida, area, where authorities claim she used a stolen credit card to pay for her room, the sheriff’s office said.
Riess was later spotted in Louisiana and the Corpus Christi, Texas, area, but remains at large, the sheriff’s office said.
She is expected to continue targeting other women who look like her to steal their identities, authorities said.
The Lee County Sheriff’s Office said Mexican authorities and border patrol are on “full alert” that Lois Riess may try to get into Mexico.
Lois Riess is described as having brown eyes and light blonde hair. She is 5-foot-5 and weighs 165 pounds.
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