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A former police officer has been named as the suspect in Three murders in Riverside
Three murders in Riverside: The suspect in a triple homicide in Riverside, who was shot and killed by deputies with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department Friday, has been identified as a 28-year-old man who used to be employed with the Virginia State Police.
Authorities with the Riverside Police Department said that around 11 a.m. on Nov. 25, officers had been dispatched to a welfare check of a young a woman who appeared to be in distress while getting into a red Kia Soul with a man in the 11200 block of Price Court and leaving with him.
During their response, officers received reports of a fire at a home just a few houses away from where the welfare-check call originated. When the Riverside Fire Department arrived on the scene, they discovered three adult victims lying on the ground in the entryway. “Their bodies were pulled outside where it was determined they were victims of an apparent homicide,” officials with RPD said in a news release.
According to preliminary investigations, the young woman was a teenager who lived in the neighborhood where the house fire and homicides occurred. The man that 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. “Several hours later, he was discovered driving with the teen through San Bernardino County…in the unincorporated area of Kelso.”
According to police, Edwards fired shots at deputies, who returned fire, killing him. The 28-year-old man was pronounced dead at the scene. The adolescent girl was not injured and was later placed in the care of the Riverside County Department of Public and Social Services.
“Detectives determined Edwards met the female teenager through a common form of online deception known as ‘catfishing,’ in which someone pretends to be someone other than themselves,” authorities said in a statement. “Edwards is thought to have developed an online relationship with the teen and obtained her personal information.” He drove from Virginia to Riverside, parked his car in a neighbor’s driveway, and entered the teen’s home.”
According to police, Edwards murdered the teen’s grandfather, grandmother, and mother at that time. “Detectives discovered Edwards had previously worked for the Virginia State Police before being recently employed at the Washington County Sheriff’s office in Virginia,” according to the release.
Mark Winek, 69, his 65-year-old wife Sharie Winek, and their 38-year-old daughter Brooke Winek have been identified as the three victims. A GoFundMe campaign has been started to help with the funeral expenses of the three victims and the continued support of two teenage girls who lost their family members.
Authorities stated the investigation was ongoing and that anyone with additional or relevant information should contact the Riverside Police Department.
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