Virginia police cite hiring error in California ‘catfishing’ deaths

Virginia State Police now blame “human error” for the company’s hiring of Austin Lee Edwards, the cop who killed the grandparents and mom of a 15-year-old California woman he “catfished” on-line.

“Human error resulted in an incomplete database query during Edwards’ hiring process,” Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller stated in a information launch Wednesday.

The assertion quantities to an admission that the company ought to have identified a couple of 2016 incident, first reported by The Instances on Tuesday, wherein Edwards was detained for psychiatric analysis after threatening to kill his father and himself. In accordance with an Abingdon, Va., police report obtained by The Instances by means of a public data request, Edwards was taken into custody after he reduce his hand and emergency medical technicians needed to name police to assist restrain him.

EMTs, accompanied by police, took Edwards to a neighborhood hospital, the place he was detained beneath an emergency custody order. Later the identical day, a choose accredited a brief detention order and Edwards was transferred to a neighborhood psychiatric facility.

Edwards’ father advised police he didn’t know why his son harmed himself however stated it might need been associated to troubles along with his then-girlfriend, based on the police report.

In a press release to The Instances, Geller stated the Virginia State Police wouldn’t have employed any officer candidate who it knew had been detained beneath an emergency custody order and a brief detention order.

Geller declined to say whether or not the state’s background verify course of would have revealed both order.

Potential troopers are required to reveal interactions with regulation enforcement even when they weren’t arrested. However Edwards by no means disclosed the 2016 incident, Geller stated.

The Abingdon police report, which is a public file, detailed the violent 2016 incident and referenced each the emergency custody order and the short-term detention order. Virginia State Police haven’t stated whether or not the police report ought to have turned up throughout their background verify of Edwards.

Geller declined to touch upon the precise circumstances surrounding Edwards’ custody and detention orders, saying the division was barred by regulation from discussing confidential data, regardless of these data being made public on Tuesday by a Washington County choose in response to a movement filed by The Instances.

Riverside police stated that Edwards, 28, portrayed himself as a 17-year-old whereas speaking with the woman on-line. In November, he drove throughout the nation to her Riverside house and killed her household earlier than setting fireplace to the house and leaving with the woman.

San Bernardino County officers initially stated Edwards was killed in a shootout with police after officers stopped his automobile. However the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Division stated final week that Edwards died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The teenage woman was unhurt.

Geller stated the division believed the lapse to be remoted and is taking steps to “ensure the error is not repeated going forward.” She additionally stated that Edwards returned all his state-owned tools, together with his service weapons, on his ultimate day of employment.

The Washington County Sheriff’s Workplace, the place Edwards labored briefly after leaving the Virginia State Police, declined to remark.