Co-workers of Austin Lee Edwards, the Virginia cop who killed the grandparents and mom of a 15-year-old Riverside woman he “catfished” on-line, eliminated a sheriff’s truck and a black trash bag from Edwards’ property the evening earlier than it was formally searched, based on an eyewitness and a video reviewed by The Occasions.
Two deputies from the Washington County Sheriff’s Workplace, the legislation enforcement company that employed Edwards instantly earlier than his dying, arrived on the white Cape Cod-style house with blacked-out home windows late on Nov. 25, the day of the killings.
Riverside Police, who’re main the murder investigation, didn’t know in regards to the Washington County Sheriff’s Workplace’s actions. “We are not aware of any action taken at his house prior to the Nov. 26 search warrant,” mentioned Riverside Police spokesperson Ryan Railsback. “We are not aware of any additional searches.”
The eyewitness mentioned the officers arrived on the house within the night hours of Nov. 25 — the identical day the murders in Riverside happened — and that they didn’t see the officers go inside however witnessed the deputies come from the again of the house with a trash bag earlier than leaving with a automobile from the property.
The 42-second video reveals two individuals subsequent to the home, certainly one of them holding what seems to be a flashlight in a single hand and the black trash bag in one other. Each of them then stroll away from the home. The eyewitness mentioned the 2 deputies drove off individually, one in a patrol automobile and the opposite in a Washington County Sheriff’s Workplace truck that had been parked in Edwards’ driveway for days.
Two former legislation enforcement officers in Virginia, who’re conversant in the matter and have reviewed the video, confirmed that they acknowledged each of the officers within the video as deputies with the Washington County Sheriff’s Workplace.
The Occasions has granted the eyewitness and the previous officers anonymity as a result of they concern retaliation for chatting with the press.
Edwards, 28, began as a patrol deputy with the Washington County Sheriff’s Workplace on Nov. 16.
Riverside police have mentioned that Edwards portrayed himself as a 17-year-old whereas speaking with the 15-year-old on-line. In November, he drove throughout the nation to her Riverside house and killed three of her members of the family earlier than setting hearth to the house and leaving with the woman.
San Bernardino County officers initially mentioned Edwards was killed in a shootout with police after officers stopped his automobile. However the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Division mentioned final week that Edwards died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The teenage woman was bodily unhurt.
Edwards’ tenure as a police officer was temporary. He entered the Virginia State Police Academy on July 6, 2021, and after he graduated on Jan. 21 of this 12 months, he was assigned to Henrico County, throughout the Richmond Division. He resigned from the Virginia State Police on Oct. 28. A Virginia State Police spokesperson advised The Occasions on Wednesday that “human error” within the company’s background test course of led to Edwards’ hiring.
Neither the Washington County Sheriff’s Workplace nor the Smyth County Commonwealth’s Lawyer instantly responded to a request for remark.