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Home of former Virginia trooper accused of killing California family searched

Posted at 5:07 PM, Dec 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-01 17:37:32-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- Police executed a search warrant at the Southwest Virginia home of a former state trooper who police in Southern California say deceived a teenager into an online relationship, then drove across the country and killed her mother and grandparents.

Investigators said that Austin Lee Edwards was a resident of North Chesterfield, but property records show that he was most recently living at a home he purchased in the Saltville section of Smyth County.

Officers have searched that house, but documentation of the findings has been sealed, according to the Smyth County Circuit Court Clerk’s office.

Edwards had recently left Virginia State Police for a job with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office. Washington County is adjacent to Smyth County.

Investigators said the 28-year-old died by suicide Friday while engaged in a shootout with law enforcement near Riverside, California.

The Riverside police chief says Edwards pretended to be a 17-year-old boy when he struck up a relationship with a 15-year-old girl.

Investigators say after he killed her three family members, he set their home on fire, before leaving with the teen. She was later found unharmed and her family members said she is now in trauma counseling.

This is a developing story, so anyone with more information can email newstips@wtvr.com to send a tip.

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