The man who recognized the alleged “killer grandma,” who was wanted to the murders of her husband and a woman she resembled, told Inside Edition her silver hair gave her identity away.
George Higginbotham said he recognized Lois Riess when on Thursday she walked into Dirty Al’s, the restaurant he manages on South Padre Island, a popular vacation spot in Texas.
“She came in; she asked to see the menu," he said.
Higginbotham first noticed Riess' silver hair from reports about the nationwide hunt for her on "CBS This Morning."
"We were very lucky to notice her white hair. She liked to throw it back with her left arm and all," he told reporters.
He called police, but Riess had already left by the time authorities arrived.
“She turned around and walked out,” Higginbotham said.
South Padre Police Chief Randy Smith said his officers missed Riess by a few minutes, but quickly caught up to her. Riess was captured that night at Sea Ranch Restaurant, another local eatery in the beach resort community located just 27 miles from the Mexico border.
“She seemed to have let her guard down a little bit,” Smith said. “By the time she realized what was going on, I believe it was out of her control."
Riess had been staying in a $59-a-night room at a Motel 6. She had apparently befriended two other people on the island and were with them at the time of her arrest, police said.
Riess is accused of fatally shooting her husband, David Riess, in their Minnesota home last month before fleeing with $11,000 from his bank account to pay for her alleged gambling addiction, police said.
Newly released surveillance footage showed Riess buying a sandwich at an Iowa convenience store. There, she can be heard asking for the quickest route south.
“If you wanted to start heading south, would you take 35 south?” Riess says. “Just to keep going on down to the next state?”
She traveled to Fort Myers, Fla., where she allegedly befriended and fatally shot Pam Hutchinson.
Hutchinson resembled Riess, who police said stole the victim’s identity and car.
She drove across Louisiana to Texas, spending five weeks on the run before she was caught on Thursday.
Hutchinson’s cousins told Inside Edition they were relieved their loved one’s alleged killer was finally behind bars.
"The American people are safe," one cousin said. "She’s not going to have a chance to kill again and keep this going."