Virginia sheriff defends elimination of things from deputy’s residence after California triple murder

A Virginia sheriff says that he ordered two of his deputies to go looking the house of a colleague who killed three folks in California, and insists they acted to guard the general public.

Washington County Sheriff Blake Andis additionally says he instructed Riverside police, who’re main the investigation into “catfishing” cop Austin Lee Edwards, about his deputies’ Nov. 25 search of Edwards’ residence.

The official search of the house occurred on Nov. 26, the morning after the Washington County deputies have been videotaped on Edwards’ property.

Ryan Railsback, a spokesman for the Riverside Police Division, had instructed The Instances that he was not conscious of any further searches past the one on Nov. 26.

“We are not aware of any action taken at his house prior to the Nov. 26 search warrant,” he stated Friday. “We are not aware of any additional searches.”

On Monday, Railsback caught to his feedback, telling The Instances that he first realized of the Washington County search from Instances reporters Friday, and that he was “not aware of any specific orders or conversations of us directing anybody” to entry Edwards’ property earlier than the official search.

“I don’t know if we were aware that anybody went to the house,” he stated. “It’s possible in the commotion of trying to locate him or get any idea of where he might be that there could’ve been communications between our folks.”

Washington County’s warrantless search of Edwards’ property occurred whereas the deputy was nonetheless on the run in California, Andis instructed The Instances.

The replace comes days after The Instances broke the information that two of Edwards’ co-workers on the Washington County Sheriff’s Workplace have been caught on digital camera getting into Edwards’ residence in a neighboring county the day earlier than a search warrant was executed. The Instances spoke to a witness and reviewed a short video of the deputies eradicating a black trash bag from the property.

Andis stated that, after listening to of the killings in California, he instructed deputies to enter Edwards’ residence in Smyth County to see whether or not there have been any victims there. He stated that deputies entered the house by an open again door and that the search lasted 5 to fifteen minutes.

Andis acknowledged that the deputies didn’t get hold of a warrant to go looking the residence and located no victims on the property.

Washington County deputies didn’t take away something from Edwards’ home however took department-issued tools that was sitting on the again porch, Andis stated. Andis stated nobody was in the home on the time.

“We went in under emergency exigent circumstances hopefully to prevent any further acts against law enforcement and let them know what was going on and what we found here,” he stated, including that he couldn’t say precisely what time deputies searched the house.

Railsback, the Riverside spokesperson, has “no reason to believe” that Washington County’s actions have been detrimental to Riverside’s investigation, he stated Monday. Eradicating departmental tools from the house could be “very reasonable and appropriate for them to do,” he stated.

Andis confirmed that his deputies didn’t rope off the house after looking out it on the night of Nov. 25. He couldn’t say why deputies didn’t safe the house as soon as they knew that its resident had allegedly killed three folks and was being pursued by authorities in California.

Andis repeatedly declined to say whether or not he knowledgeable authorities in Smyth County earlier than the search. Smyth County deputies, performing on behalf of Riverside County, executed the Nov. 26 search warrant. The Smyth County commonwealth’s legal professional’s workplace declined to remark.

Edwards portrayed himself as a 17-year-old whereas speaking with a 15-year-old woman on-line, based on Riverside police. Final month, he drove throughout the nation to her residence in Riverside and killed her mom and grandparents earlier than setting fireplace to the house and leaving with the woman.

Deputies tried to intercept Edwards in San Bernardino County. He died of a self-inflicted gunshot from his service weapon after firing at a legislation enforcement car, a spokesperson for the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Division stated Friday. The teenage woman was bodily unhurt.

A Virginia-based authorized skilled instructed The Instances that the Washington County Sheriff’s Workplace can’t declare exigent circumstances as a result of Edwards’ residence is just not in its jurisdiction.

“It just sounds like it’s the justification they’re giving, but if their law enforcement officer is in Washington County, then that’s the bounds of their authority,” stated Yancey Ellis, a accomplice in Carmichael, Ellis & Brock, a felony protection agency in Alexandria, Va.

“As far as I understand, the residence was in Smyth County, not Washington County, and so if there was some kind of exigency that required searching Smyth County, it seems like Smyth County law enforcement officials would be the ones doing it,” he stated. “It’s their jurisdiction.”

The San Bernardino Police Division didn’t say what time precisely its pursuit of Edwards ended. Washington County’s search occurred after darkish, based on the video reviewed by The Instances.

The 42-second video reveals two Washington County deputies subsequent to Edwards’ residence. One held what gave the impression to be a flashlight in a single hand and a trash bag within the different. Each walked away from the house.