Austin Lee Edwards Wiki
Austin Lee Edwards Biography
A memorial continues to grow outside a Riverside home where three people were killed Friday, allegedly by a man who had traveled across the country to meet a teenage girl.
Authorities say 28-year-old Austin Lee Edwards drove from Virginia to the home in the 11200 block of Price Court, where he killed the girl’s mother, grandfather and grandmother, then set the home on fire.
Police initially responded to the area around 11 a.m. after someone reported that a young woman who appeared to be in distress got into a red Kia Soul. Around the same time, flames erupted from the two-story house.
The triple homicide suspect was a former Virginia law enforcement officer
Inside, firefighters discovered the bodies of Mark Winek, 69, his wife, Sharie Winek, 65, and his daughter, Brooke Winek, 38.
Mark Winek, 69, Sharie Winek, 65, Brooke Winek, 38.
“Several hours later, (Edwards) was discovered driving with the teen through San Bernardino County when the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department located him in the unincorporated area of Kelso,” Riverside police said in a statement. “Edwards fired at officers and an officer-involved shooting ensued and he was subsequently pronounced dead at the scene.”
Police say Edwards, who was once employed by the Virginia State Police, met the teen through a common form of online deception known as “catfishing,” where someone adopts a false identity.
“Behind that screen or that phone or that computer, they are a predator. They want nothing more than to victimize these children for their own gratification,” Riverside Police Officer Ryan Railsback told KTLA.
Go Fund Me
A Go Fund Me campaign has been established to help the Winek family.
“Our hearts go out to the Winek family and their loved ones during this time of tremendous grief as it is a tragedy for all Riversiders,” Riverside Police Chief Larry Gonzalez said. “This is yet another horrifying reminder of the predators that exist online that are preying on our children. If you’ve already had a conversation with your kids about being safe online and on social media, do it again. If not, start it now to better protect them.”