Cop who catfished girl before murdering her family was detained in 2016 for psychiatric evaluation

Author: Yuvi December 7, 2022


The Virginia State Trooper who catfished and kidnapped a 15-year-old California girl, then murdered her mother and grandparents, was detained in 2016 for psychiatric evaluation after threatening to kill his father and himself.

A police report newly obtained by the Los Angeles Times showed that Austin Lee Edwards, 28, got into a violent altercation while apparently suffering a breakdown over troubles he was having with his then-girlfriend.

The disturbing report described how cops were called to the family’s home by Edwards’ father, Christopher Edwards, where they found him struggling to restrain his son on the kitchen floor.

Edwards was detained, and told officers he intended to harm himself and his father the moment his handcuffs were removed, leading authorities to commit him to a mental hospital.

Despite the incident, Edwards was still accepted into the Virginia State Police earlier this year and also served in the sheriff’s office in Washington County, Virginia, this fall.

Edwards killed himself as police pursued him last month after he drove across the country and carried out his massacre. He had posed as a 17-year-old boy online while communicating with the teenage victim, who survived the ordeal physically unharmed.

Austin Lee Edwards, 28, got into a violent altercation while apparently suffering a breakdown over troubles he was having with his then-girlfriend.

Authorities are continuing to investigate the deaths of Mark Winek, 69, and Sharie Winek, 65, as well as the girl's mother, Brooke Winek, 38. They were found dead in their home on the 11200 block of Price Court in Riverside, California

Edwards traveled from his home in Virginia to Riverside, California on Friday, where he murdered the family of a 15-year-old girl he was talking to online. The victims were identified as the girl’s grandparents, Mark Winek, 69, and Sharie Winek, 65, as well as the girl’s mother, Brooke Winek, 38.

The police report showed that on the night of Super Bowl Sunday in 2016 Christopher Edwards and his son watched the game and had a pair of beers each before going to bed.

Later that night Christopher Edwards heard his son – then 21 years old – in the bathroom and making noises. When he called out to him and got no reply, the father forced his way into the bathroom and found Edwards inside with a cut on his hand.

The report said Christopher Edwards called an ambulance, and his son went to his bedroom where he sat on his bed and repeatedly opened and closed a pocket knife. After learning an ambulance was on the way, Edwards tried to leave the apartment and his father was forced to subdue him in the kitchen.

Paramedics arrived and found the father and son grappling on the kitchen floor.

Authorities say Edwards traveled over 2,000 miles from his home in Virginia to meet the unnamed teenage girl at her home in Riverside, California.

Authorities say Edwards traveled over 2,000 miles from his home in Virginia to meet the unnamed teenage girl at her home in Riverside, California.

According to the report, paramedics were alarmed by Edwards’ “resistance to medical aid and attempts to escape his father’s control,” and called the police.

Cops arrived around 3:30am where they found the struggle between father and son continuing amid a ‘large presence of blood’ in the apartment.

When officers told Edwards to show his hands, he ‘began screaming and threatening everyone.’ An officer then pulled out his taser, but the father begged him not to tase his son. Eventually the police were able to cuff Edwards.

Transported to Johnston Memorial Hospital, Edwards said he planned to kill himself and his father the moment he was released from handcuffs.

His father had bite marks on his arms. Asked why his son had had the episode, he said he didn’t know but suggested it may have had something to do with problems he was having with his girlfriend.

The house where the Wineks lived was torched.  Emergency services found the three bodies lying in the front entryway.

The house where the Wineks lived was torched. Emergency services found the three bodies lying in the front entryway.

Edwards was then transported to another hospital where he was evaluated psychologically because of his threats.

Doctors there found a ‘substantial likelihood that, as a result of mental illness, [Edwards] will, in the near future’ harm himself or others because of a ‘lack of ability to protect himself from harm,’ according to the hospital’s report which was obtained by the LA Times.

As a result, he was transported to Ridgeview Pavilion where he was kept for observation and treatment. It is unclear how long he stayed.

According to Virginia State Police, Edwards did not disclose the incident when he joined the force. The spokesperson told the LA Times they were reviewing the process that led to Edwards’ hiring.

The Winek's Riverside home was boarded up with smoke damage following the attack.

The Winek’s Riverside home was boarded up with smoke damage following the attack.

Friends and family left flowers, candles and photos outside of the home.

Friends and family left flowers, candles and photos outside of the home.

On November 25 Police said they were called to the 11200 block of Price Court just before 11am to check on the welfare of a young girl who appeared distressed while getting into a red Kia Soul with an unknown man — later found to be Edwards.

While officers were responding to the scene, police began to receive calls about a fire just a few houses away.

The Riverside Fire Department discovered three adults lying in the front entryway and took them outside, where rescue personnel “determined they were victims of an apparent homicide,” police said.

The cause of the fire was under investigation, but appeared to have been ‘intentionally ignited,’ police said, and authorities soon discovered that the girl described in the initial welfare check had lived in the house with her mother and grandparents.

At that point, law enforcement officials in the town — about 50 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles — distributed a description of Edwards’ vehicle to other agencies nearby.

Brooke has been described as a loving single mother to two teenage daughters.

Brooke has been described as a loving single mother to two teenage daughters.

Mark Winek (pictured) was a longtime girls' softball coach at Arlington High School.

Mark Winek (pictured) was a longtime girls’ softball coach at Arlington High School.

Within a few hours, police were able to track down Edwards’ Kia as he drove the teenager in Kelso, an unincorporated area of ​​San Bernardino County.

When police finally caught up with him, Edwards fired shots at them before being fatally shot himself by at least one deputy.

An ensuing investigation found that Edwards had driven from his home in North Chesterfield, Virginia to Riverside, where he parked his vehicle in a neighbor’s driveway and walked to the girl’s home.

While there, authorities say, he murdered the girl’s mother, grandmother and grandfather and set their home on fire before walking back to his vehicle with the girl and leaving the scene.

Author: Yuvi

My name is Yuvi, I work as Sub Editor at newscinema.in

7 December, 2022, 10:28 am

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Wednesday, 7th December 2022

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