A North Chesterfield, Virginia, man allegedly killed a teen girl’s mother and grandparents Friday after reportedly crossing state lines in a catfishing incident.
Police arrested 28-year-old Austin Lee Edwards in connection with the three alleged murders that took place in Riverside, California, according to ABC7. The reported incident occurred at 11:08 a.m., when neighbors called the police on a welfare check for a disturbance involving a man and a younger girl, according to KTVU. Police saw “a young female who appeared distressed” while getting into a red Kia Soul, the outlet continued.
Edwards reportedly catfished the teen online before allegedly committing the murders.
While responding to the welfare check, police got a call about a fire at a nearby residence, KTVU reported. Firefighters arrived and recovered the bodies of the girl’s grandparents, 69-year-old Mark Winek, 65-year-old Sharie Winek, and the girl’s mother, 38-year-old Brooke Winek, the outlet continued, citing the police. (RELATED: Tucker Carlson: There Is ‘Tolerance For Pedophilia’ Among Society’s Most Powerful)
Police said 28-year-old Austin Lee Edwards, a former state trooper, traveled from Virginia to Riverside to meet a teen girl he ‘catfished’ online, then murdered the girl’s mom and grandparents. https://t.co/IkFbqKn3D7
— KTVU (@KTVU) November 28, 2022
San Bernardino, California, police later located Edwards driving with the teen in Kelso, around 200 miles northeast of Riverside, according to the outlet. Edwards allegedly died after he exchanged gunfire with deputies. Police found the girl unharmed and took her into protective custody, according to the outlet.
“This is yet another horrific reminder of the predators existing online who prey on our children,” Riverside Police Chief Larry Gonzalez said, according to WTVR.
The community held a vigil Saturday night to show support for the family. “They were just that type people that you would just never wake up to think that you would hear this of them,” the Wineks’ longtime neighbor, Bonnie Davis, told ABC7.
Edwards worked for the Virginia State Police before relocating to the Washington County, Virginia, Sheriff’s Office, the outlet reported, citing investigators.