Riess continues to elude police, courts

Published 7:38 am Thursday, April 5, 2018

By Jeffrey Jackson

Owatonna People’s Press via The Associated Press

BLOOMING PRAIRIE — Lois Riess remains elusive in more ways than one.

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On Tuesday, attorneys representing the interest of her sister, for whom Riess once acted as guardian and conservator, said Riess has yet to pay back more than $100,000 she owes her sister despite a court order for her to do so.

That news comes nearly two weeks after Riess’ husband was found dead in their rural Blooming Prairie home of multiple gunshot wounds, and Lois Riess, 56, deemed a “person of interest” in the case, has managed to avoid capture despite the fact that there are several law enforcement agencies looking for her.

And at least one agency, the U.S. Marshals, believe they will be helpful in finding Riess and bringing her to justice.

“More or less, we find people. That’s our job,” said Chris Clifford, the assistant chief deputy for the District of Minnesota of the U.S. Marshals.

Clifford said Tuesday that the marshals here are just starting to roll out on the Riess case, but will be working with investigators from both Dodge County and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension in finding Riess.

The District of Minnesota looks for fugitives only in Minnesota, Clifford said. However, if through their investigation they determine — or even come to believe — that Riess has gone to another jurisdiction, they will turn the investigation over to that district.

“If we think she’s in another state, we’ll reach out to that other state and get them involved,” Clifford said.

In all, there are 94 U.S. Marshal districts, one for each federal judicial district.

“We’ll have to see where it goes,” said Clifford.

The search for Riess began March 23, a Friday, after police were summoned to rural Blooming Prairie to the land on which sat both the house she shared with her husband, David Riess, 54, and the business he operated, Prairie Wax Worm Farms.

There police found the body of David Riess, which, according to a medical examiner’s report, had been there since Wednesday, March 21.

That weekend, Lois Riess was named a person of interest.

The following Tuesday, a complaint was filed charging Lois Riess with theft for allegedly signing business checks over to her husband’s personal account — neither account of which she had authority to use — and then writing checks to herself for $11,000, forging his signature. She also is alleged to have use his debit card. All of these actions are said to have taken place after David Riess was already dead.

It is not the only issue with money that Riess has had, according to court documents.

On Tuesday of this week, an attorney representing Kimberly Sanchez, Lois Riess’ oldest sister, said that Riess has yet to pay back her sister that Riess took from Sanchez when Riess acted as guardian and conservator for her sister, a vulnerable adult.

When asked on Tuesday how much Riess had paid back Sanchez of the $100,533.93 that the court on Dec. 19, 2016, had ordered her to pay back, an attorney representing her sister’s interests had a simple answer.

“Zero, despite collection efforts,” said J. Scott Braden of Braden & Messick in Faribault.

Braden and other attorneys had gone to court in 2015 seeking to have Riess removed as her sister’s guardian after investigations revealed that she had been taking tens of thousands of her sister’s money, some of which she was spending at nearby casinos.

Lois Riess is described as 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighing 165 pounds with brown eyes and blond hair.

Law enforcement say she likely is driving a white 2005 Cadillac Escalade SUV with Minnesota license plate 864 LAE. The vehicle is registered to David Riess.

She is believed to be armed and dangerous.

Anyone with knowledge about this investigation or about the whereabouts of Lois Riess is asked to contact the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office at (507) 635-6200.