Austin Lee Edwards
A former Virginia state police officer “catfished” a minor teen girl online then killed her mother and grandparents.
According to police, Austin Lee Edwards, 28, traveled to Riverside, California to meet up with a 15-year-old girl he linked up with online.
Riverside police last Friday received calls of a girl who “appeared distressed” while getting into a car with a man, ABC News reported.
Responding officers also received reports of a house fire nearby.
The three people found deceased in the burnt home are the teen girl’s 38-year-old mother, Brooke Winek and grandparents, Mark and Sharie Winek.
The fire was intentionally set, Riverside police said.
A neighbor told The Daily Mail that the teen girl’s mother and grandparents were bound and gagged when first responders removed them from the home.
“I looked with binoculars from the back window of my house,’ the 68-year-old resident of the Riverside cul-de-sac said. ‘They carried them out. Their hands were tied behind their backs. One lady had tape over her mouth. It was frightening.” the neighbor told The Daily Mail.
Austin Lee Edwards sped off with the teen girl and led Sheriff’s deputies on a high speed chase and fired shots at them.
Edwards died in a shootout with Riverside Deputies after losing control of his car and driving off the road; the teen girl was not injured.
ABC News reported:
A former Virginia police officer allegedly “catfished” a teenage girl online before traveling to Riverside, California, and killing her family, according to police.
The murders were discovered on Friday after authorities received a report of a girl “who appeared distressed” while getting into a car with a man, Riverside police said.
As officers responded to that report, they received calls of a fire at a nearby house.
Police said three family members were found dead in the house from apparent homicides: 69-year-old Mark Winek; his wife, 65-year-old Sharie Winek; and their daughter, 38-year-old Brooke Winek.
The Wineks “were loving people who didn’t deserve this,” the family said in a statement.
The fire appears to have been intentionally set, police said, adding that the causes of death were still pending.