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

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Source: Riverside Police Department

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

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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, RadarOnline.com 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.

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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 RadarOnline.com stated.

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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.

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Source: unsplash
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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.

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Source: unsplash

RadarOnline.com 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."

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