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Police officer posed as a teenager to lure a minor before killing his mother and grandparents in California

2022-11-30T21:22:34.032Z

The 28-year-old man drove across the country from Virginia and drove to the girl's home in Riverside after exchanging messages with her. There he killed his grandparents and his mother before fleeing with the minor. He died shot by the police.



Authorities suspect a Virginia Sheriff's Office officer posed as a 17-year-old boy online to sexually extort a teenage girl in California before driving across the country, burning down her home and killing her husband. mother and her grandfathers.

Suspect Austin Lee Edwards, 28, was shot and killed Friday with San Bernardino officers.

The 15-year-old girl from Riverside was rescued and is receiving therapy for the trauma she experienced, family members and police reported Wednesday at a press conference.

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Edwards, a resident of North Chesterfield, Virginia, met the girl online and obtained her personal information by deceiving her with a false identity, which is known as

catfishing

, according to the uniform.

All indications are that Edwards posed as a teenager to pursue an online romantic relationship with the girl, according to Riverside police.

Detectives are trying to determine how they met and how long they were texting.

Lee EdwardsRiverside Police Department

It's also unclear if this was the girl's first in-person meeting with Edwards or if she was aware he was coming to California, authorities said.

Riverside Police Chief Larry Gonzalez said that because of the girl's young age and her trauma, it will take time to complete his interviews with her and get answers to the many questions surrounding the case.

"We do not believe at this time that he had anything to do with the murders," he

said.

At some point, Edwards asked the girl for sexual photos and she stopped contacting him, Gonzalez said, but detectives don't yet know when that happened or if Edwards killed his family in retaliation.

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Authorities believe Edwards parked his vehicle in a neighbor's driveway, walked up to the home and killed family members before driving off with the girl on Friday.

Authorities have yet to determine how the victims were killed or how the fire started.

relatives speak

The bodies found in the house were identified as the minor's grandparents and mother: Mark Winek, 69;

Sharie Winek, 65;

and her 38-year-old daughter, Brooke Winek.

“Nobody could have imagined that this crime would happen to my family, to our family

,” said Michelle Blandin, daughter of Mark and Sharie and sister of Brooke.

Edwards is a former Virginia state trooper and currently a Washington County, Virginia sheriff's officer.

Law enforcement in that town said he did not display any concerning behavior and that no other employers revealed any problems during their background checks.

The city of Riverside is located about 50 miles (80 kilometers) southeast of downtown Los Angeles.

Source: telemundo

All news articles on 2022-11-30

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