Family says woman was murdered by friend who stole her identity to hide from police
HANOVER COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) — A Hanover family is talking about a bizarre crime that left a Florida woman dead after police said their family member was killed -- and her identity was stolen -- by a woman now wanted for killing her own husband.
Some of the final messages from Pamela Hutchinson show she was happy, according to her uncle and cousins who live in Hanover.
“Pam would do anything for anybody,” said Tarus Woelk, Hutchinson's cousin. “She's the type that doesn't know a stranger.”
Investigators in Florida said Hutchinson was murdered by a woman who is now the subject of a nationwide manhunt.
In March, Lois Riess allegedly gunned down her own husband in Minnesota and fled to Florida.
Then in early April -- police say she befriended Hutchinson in Fort Myers and shot her to death.
Investigators believe Riess targeted Hutchinson in order to steal her identity because they look similar.
"There was no ID on her whatsoever, charge cards, anything,” Vincent Watts, Hutchinson's uncle, said. “She was shot, I think, right through the heart."
Hutchinson's family said they were not surprised to hear the theory from police since they said Hutchinson was such a trusting, giving person.
"My cousin went out helping the world,” Daniele Jeffreys, Hutchinson's cousin, said. “She befriended this woman. The woman probably gave her some sob story, she took her in… She's just giving to a fault, to her death. "
Authorities in Flordia said Riess was last seen driving Hutchinson's car in South Texas.
Border patrol agents are on the lookout for her and Hutchinson's family wants Riess apprehended quickly.
Woelk hopes Riess “doesn't act again because she's going to be desperate.”
Hutchinson's family is asking everyone to share Riess' picture on social media, so she'll be recognized.
"Pure evil -- that's really the only thing that could resonate with my system. It's not necessarily her, or whatever, it's just evil that flowed through,” Jeffreys said. “Because how can you go around killing people for no other good reason other than to keep yourself out of prison?"
Authorities said Riess is considered armed and dangerous.