Riverside catfish leads to triple homicide by Virginia man, police say

The deaths of three people found on Friday in a burning house in Riverside are linked to the attempted kidnapping of a teenage girl.

While police were en route to the 11200 block of Price Court for a wellness check on a man and young woman who had ‘some type of disturbance’ outside a residence, dispatchers received calls from motorists of smoke coming out of a house in the same block, said Officer Ryan Railsback, spokesman for the Riverside Police Department.

Firefighters responded and were putting out the blaze when they discovered the bodies of a man and two women inside the home, Railsback said. The victims have been identified as Mark Winek, 69; his wife, Sharie Winek, 65; and their daughter, Brooke Winek, 38.

Investigators determined the woman involved in the disturbances outside was a teenage girl who lived in the home, Railsback said. The man she was with – Austin Lee Edwards, 28, of North Chesterfield, Va. – has been identified as the prime suspect in all three deaths, he said. Edwards was found Friday night in San Bernardino County, where he was fatally shot by sheriff’s deputies in Kelso after firing a gun at officers, law enforcement officials said.

Riverside Police detectives determined Edwards met the teenager online and misrepresented who he was, Railsback said.

“Detectives have determined that Edwards met the teenager through the common form of online deception known as”cat fishing“, where someone pretends to be a different person than they really are,” authorities said in the statement. “Edwards is believed to have developed an online relationship with the teenager and obtained her personal information. He traveled from Virginia to Riverside where he parked his car in a neighbor’s driveway and drove into the house of the teenager.

Homicide victims left to right, Sharie Winek, Mark Winek and their daughter Brooke Winek, 38.

(Riverside Police Department)

Austin Lee Edwards of North Chesterfield, Virginia.

Austin Lee Edwards of North Chesterfield, Virginia.

(Riverside Police Department)

The exact cause and circumstances of the three deaths are under investigation, but police believe Edwards killed the teenager’s grandfather, grandmother and mother before taking the teenager away in his vehicle and drive off, officials said.

The teenager was not injured.

Edwards was previously employed by the Virginia State Police and most recently worked for the Washington County Sheriff’s Office in Virginia, Railsback said.

Friends and family of the three who died gathered over the weekend to remember their loved ones, according to Presse-Entreprise.

Ron Smith told Press-Enterprise that Mark Winek was a close friend and his death – along with that of his wife and daughter – came as a shock. Smith said Winek was a beloved figure in Inland Empire High School sports, having coached baseball for many years at different schools, including Corona and Arlington High Schools.

“Mark was a man who was huge in the softball and baseball coaching ranks,” Smith said. “You can’t ask for a better friend than Mark.”

Sheri Lazzarini, a friend of Winek, told Press-Enterprise that she met him when he asked to join her softball coaching staff at La Sierra High School in 1994 when her daughters were attending the school. River side. She said they remained close in the years that followed.

“He was a man dedicated to helping student-athletes,” Lazzarini said. “I don’t want the legacy to be what happened, because he was a really special man.”

A GoFundMe to provide for the family’s funeral expenses called Winek “a loving father, grandfather, uncle, brother and coach” and Sharie Winek “a sweet and caring mother, grandmother, sister and aunt who loved spending time with his family.

The page said Brooke Winek was “a beloved single mother with the biggest heart” who had two daughters.

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