Suspect in Riverside triple-homicide identified as former law enforcement official

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The suspect in a triple homicide in Riverside, who was shot and killed Friday by deputies from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, has been identified as a 28-year-old man formerly employed by the Virginia State Police.

Riverside Police Department authorities said officers were sent to a welfare check on a young woman who appeared to be in distress as she got into a red Kia Soul with a man at the 11200 block of Price Court at around 11am on Nov. 25 and leave with him.

While officers were responding, reports came in of a fire at a house just a few houses away from where the welfare check came from.

Riverside Fire Department crews arrived at the scene and entered the home where they discovered three adult victims lying on the floor in the hall.

“Their bodies were pulled outside where they were determined to be the victims of an apparent murder,” RPD officials said in a press release.

A preliminary investigation revealed that the young woman was a teenager who lived where the house fire and murders occurred.

The man she was with was later identified as Austin Lee Edwards, a resident of North Chesterfield, Virginia.

“Information was related to allied law enforcement agencies regarding the triple homicide and Edwards,” police said. “A few hours later, he was discovered driving with the teen through San Bernardino County… in the unincorporated area of ​​Kelso.”

Police said Edwards fired at deputies who returned fire, killing him. The 28-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene.

The teenage girl was unharmed and was later taken into protective custody by the Riverside County Department of Public and Social Services.

“Detectives determined that Edwards had met the female teen through the common form of online deception known as ‘catfishing,’ in which someone pretends to be a different person than they really are,” authorities said in the release. “It is believed that Edwards had developed an online relationship with the teen and obtained her personal information. He traveled from Virginia to Riverside, where he parked his car in a neighbor’s driveway and walked into the teenager’s home.

That’s when the police say Edwards killed the teen’s grandfather, grandmother and mother.

“Detectives found that Edwards had worked for the Virginia State Police until recently employed by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office in Virginia,” the release said.

The three victims have been identified as Mark Winek, 69, his wife Sharie Winek, 65, and their daughter, Brooke Winek, 38.

A GoFundMe campaign has been launched to help with the funeral costs of the three victims and the continued support of two teenage girls who have lost their family members.

Authorities said the investigation was ongoing and anyone with additional or relevant information should contact the Riverside Police Department.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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