Probe into State Police hiring of ‘catfish cop’ ends with no investigative report

After calling for ‘full investigation,’ Youngkin’s office refuses to comment
After calling for "full investigation," Youngkin’s office refuses to comment
Published: May. 3, 2023 at 9:54 PM EDT
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After it was revealed Virginia State Police failed to fully check the mental health background of a former state trooper who killed three people in California last November while attempting to abduct a teenage girl he had chatted with online, Gov. Glenn Youngkin said he had requested a “full investigation” into the agency’s vetting process.

“And once the investigation is completed, there will be full transparency,” Youngkin told reporters in mid-December.

However, the watchdog agency believed to be conducting the investigation into the hiring of Austin Lee Edwards now says it has closed its probe into the matter and there is no official report on what it found.

The only document the Office of the State Inspector General (OSIG) said it could provide was a Dec. 30 letter written by State Police Superintendent Gary Settle. That letter recounts the State Police’s own assessment of what went wrong and ideas for how to prevent similar mistakes going forward.

“The administrative hotline case is complete and has been closed by OSIG in accordance with established policy,” Chief Deputy Inspector General Corrine Louden said when asked about the status of the investigation Youngkin described.

Jeff Pike — a private investigator in Wytheville who formerly worked in law enforcement and has provided media outlets with internal State Police documents that contradicted the agency’s initial public statements about Edwards — said the State Police letter falls far short of the type of investigation he feels was warranted.

“If that is indeed the embodiment of this investigation, then basically the State Police investigated themselves,” Pike said. “And they’re sticking with a narrative that comes nowhere close to addressing the multiple mistakes made with this guy and in their hiring process.”


NBC12 is a partner with The Virginia Mercury, an independent, nonprofit online news...
NBC12 is a partner with The Virginia Mercury, an independent, nonprofit online news organization covering state government and policy.(Virginia Mercury)