Your tip

Catfish Triple-Murder: Cops Believe 15-Year-Old Has No Involvement After Her Mother & Grandparents Were Killed

winek victims pp
Source: Riverside Police Department

Nov. 29 2022, Published 10:00 p.m. ET

Link to FacebookShare to XShare to Email

Investigators believe a 15-year-old teen who was "catfished" by a former state trooper in Virginia had no involvement in the murder of her mother and grandparents, has learned.

Austin Lee Edwards, the now-deceased suspect wanted in a gruesome triple homicide, was killed after he opened fire on a SWAT team last Friday.

Article continues below advertisement
austin lee edmonds
Source: virginia state police

Edwards, 28, was accused of murdering 69-year-old Mark Winek, 65-year-old Sharie Winek, and 38-year-old Brooke Winek at their home, kidnapping the teen, and setting the home on fire.

"The cause of the house fire continues to be under investigation although it appears at this point to have been intentionally ignited," a press release viewed by stated.

Article continues below advertisement

Investigators believe Edwards obtained her personal information after developing rapport with her online by pretending to be someone else.

Authorities said he traveled from Virginia to Riverside where he parked his vehicle in a neighbor's driveway before entering the home.

Riverside PD Officer Ryan Railsback told TMZ his department has no reason to believe the unidentified teen is complicit in any crime given the evidence they've gathered.

police siren
Source: unsplash
Article continues below advertisement

RPD didn't comment on whether the teen was abducted or went voluntarily with Edwards while awaiting more information, including autopsy results.

It all unfolded on November 25 when Riverside Police Officers were dispatched to the address for a welfare check on a young female "who appeared distressed while getting into a Red Kia Soul" with a man later identified as Edwards.

Hours later, he was spotted behind the wheel with the teen in his vehicle in San Bernardino County when he was located by the local Sheriff’s Department in the unincorporated area of Kelso.

Edwards was killed in a shootout with officers.

Article continues below advertisement
Source: unsplash has learned the teen was not harmed and has been taken into protective custody.

"This is yet another horrific reminder of the predators existing online who prey on our children," Riverside Police Chief Larry Gonzalez warned. "If you've already had a conversation with your kids on how to be safe online and on social media, have it again. If not, start it now to better protect them."



Opt-out of personalized ads

© Copyright 2024 Radar Media Group LLC. RADAR and RADARONLINE are registered trademarks. All rights reserved. Registration on or use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Terms of Service, Privacy Policy and Cookies Policy. People may receive compensation for some links to products and services. Offers may be subject to change without notice.