May 18, 2024

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He impersonates a teenage girl before killing her family

He impersonates a teenage girl before killing her family

A former Virginia police officer suspected of murdering the family of a teenage girl in Riverside, California, was shot and killed while falsely identifying himself online and trying to flee from officers.

According to CNN, the former police officer has been identified as Austin Lee Edwards, 28, of North Chesterfield, Virginia. Detectives said they believe Edwards met the teenager through ‘catfishing’, a form of online deception in which someone pretends to be a different person.

Riverside police officers were called to check on the welfare of a young woman who appeared distraught while riding in a red car, CNN reported.

While officers were responding to the call, 911 dispatchers began receiving calls about a fire in the same neighborhood, just a few houses away from the origin of the welfare control.

Firefighters found three adults lying in the front door of the burning home. When they were dragged out, it was confirmed that they had been murdered.

A preliminary investigation by Riverside police has identified the young woman described in the initial call as a teenage girl who lived at the scene of the fire and murders, CNN has learned.

According to police, Edwards developed an online relationship with the teenager and obtained her personal information. He then drove from Virginia to Riverside, where he parked his vehicle in a neighbor’s driveway and walked to the teenager’s home. Authorities believe Edwards killed the teenager’s grandparents and mother before getting back in his vehicle with the teenager and leaving the scene.

Hours after the bodies were found, Edwards was spotted driving with the teenager in San Bernardino County.

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According to a City of Riverside report, Edwards allegedly exchanged gunfire with San Bernardino County police officers who tried to arrest him, was shot by them, and was later pronounced dead at the scene.

The teenager was not injured and was later taken into custody by the Riverside County Department of Public Human Services, police told CNN.