Ex-trooper bought house, blacked out windows, weeks before allegedly killing family of teenager he fished out, seller says – Reuters

0
Ex-trooper bought house, blacked out windows, weeks before allegedly killing family of teenager he fished out, seller says – Reuters

Weeks before a former Virginia state trooper killed three California family members in a ‘catfishing’ scheme, he bought a house unseen and blacked out the windows , the man who sold him the house said on Friday.

Jacob Gordon, 28, said in an interview that Austin Lee Edwards, who was killed in a shootout with authorities Nov. 25, made a full-price offer on the two-bedroom home in Saltville, New York. southwest Virginia, a few hours after it closed. listed in the first week of October.

Edwards, 28, asked almost no questions about the house and moved in Nov. 14, Gordon said. Property records for Smyth County, Virginia list Austin Lee Edwards as the owner of the house on Allison Gap Road. He paid $79,900, records show.

“It Still Doesn’t Feel Real” gordon said NBC affiliate WCYB of Bristol, Virginia. “It’s something you never dream of.”

The house bought by Austin Lee Edwards, in Saltville, Virginia.
The house bought by Austin Lee Edwards, in Saltville, Virginia.Courtesy of Jacob Gordon

TMZ first reported the sale.

Authorities believe Edwards posed as a 17-year-old while interacting with a teenage girl in Riverside, California. Edwards drove there and is charged with killing 15-year-old mother Brooke Winek, 38; and grandparents, Mark Winek, 69, and Sharie Winek, 65, Riverside authorities said.

A fire that authorities say was intentionally started broke out at their home and Edwards is believed to have left with the teenager. San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputies tracked them down hours later and shot Edwards after opening fire, the Riverside Police Department said.

The girl is in the custody of Child Protective Services and is receiving trauma counseling, a family friend said at a news conference on Wednesday.

Family photographs forming part of a memorial in the driveway of the home where three family members were murdered, November 29, 2022 in Riverside, California.
Family photographs forming part of a memorial in the driveway of the home where three family members were murdered, November 29, 2022 in Riverside, California.Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Edwards resigned from the Virginia State Police in October, about 10 months after graduating from the academy. The department declined to say why, citing a state law prohibiting them from releasing additional details.

The agency denied a public records request from NBC News seeking personal records.

Edwards had recently started orientation and was being reassigned to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office Patrol Division when he moved into the Saltville home.

The sheriff’s office previously said a background check revealed Edwards had not been the subject of any reprimands, internal investigations or other issues.

After moving into the house, Edwards hung blackout curtains and tinted the windows with what Gordon thought was a product designed for cars, he said. We don’t know why he did it. Gordon didn’t discuss it with Edwards and said he didn’t think much of it at the time.

“I actually said to him, ‘I’m glad we have a cop here,'” Gordon said. “My wife and baby are often home alone.”

“When I look back, there are 100 things I could question,” he added.

Ryan Railsback, a spokesman for the Riverside Police Department, said Friday that detectives have yet to analyze the items discovered at the home.

Gordon described Edwards as shy and said he mostly kept to himself, although he offered to help Gordon fix things around his neighboring property. Because Edwards was new to the area, Gordon said, he once offered to go to dinner with Edwards at a Chinese restaurant.

“He politely declined,” Gordon said.

Gordon said Edwards told him he moved to the area because he grew up in the area and wanted to come back. The Riverside Police Department previously said Edwards was from North Chesterfield, several hours northeast of Saltville near Richmond.

Efforts to reach Edwards’ relatives were unsuccessful.

Gordon described Saltville as rural Appalachia, a place where credit cards cannot be used at gas pumps and fast food franchises are virtually non-existent.

“When you come here, you travel to the past,” he said.

Authorities have not said when Edwards arrived in California or how he got there. The last time Gordon said he saw Edwards was Tuesday, November 22, three days before the Wineks died.

“He had come home early from work that day,” he said. “He packed his stuff in his car and drove off.”

T
WRITTEN BY

Related posts