Riverside murders: Suspect was detained in Virginia in 2016 for psychiatric evaluation, report shows

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Thursday, December 8, 2022
IE 'catfish' murders: Suspect held in 2016 for psychiatric evaluation
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The suspect in a triple-murder in Riverside was detained in 2016 for a psychiatric evaluation, according to documents obtained from police in Virginia.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (KABC) -- The suspect in last month's horrific triple murder in Riverside had been detained in 2016 for a psychiatric evaluation, according to documents ABC News obtained from police in Abingdon, Virginia.

Authorities said Austin Lee Edwards, a 28-year-old Virginia sheriff's deputy, traveled across the country to commit the murders after catfishing a 15-year-old girl.

A local police report, received through a Virginia Freedom of Information Act request, shows Edwards allegedly threatened to kill himself and his father and had cut his hand in a bathroom on Super Bowl Sunday of 2016 after drinking two beers.

Edwards' father said the younger Edwards might have been upset over relationship issues with a girlfriend.

Austin Lee Edwards allegedly struggled with his dad, refused to follow police orders and fought efforts to put him in handcuffs, according to the police report. Edwards was then transported for a psychiatric evaluation.

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The police report includes pictures that show knives and injuries to Edwards' wrist.

Despite the incident, which was first reported by the Los Angeles Times, Edwards was able to become a law enforcement officer in Virginia.

Edwards died by suicide on Nov. 25 in Kelso, a remote area of San Bernardino County's Mojave National Preserve, after fleeing the murder scene, sheriff's officials said.

The 15-year-old girl was rescued and was placed in counseling for trauma, police said at a news conference last week.