A St. Augustine man and his teenage niece who were found dead after a police chase in New Mexico were suspected of stealing a gun before leaving Florida, according to St. Johns County Sheriff's Office incident reports.
Police said Benjamin Edwards, 31, and his 14-year-old niece died of self-inflicted gunshot wounds after the police chase Monday.
Loved ones shared pictures of Shyanne Sexton, 14, on social media, grieving her loss.
Sexton’s mother reported her missing on May 4.
According to the report, Sexton refused to go to school that day, and when her mother returned home that afternoon, she was gone.
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Sexton’s stepfather also reported that his pistol had been stolen and that he suspected thaat Sexton and Edwards might have stolen it before they left.
The report said there was an active investigation into allegations of sexual activity between Sexton and Edwards.
Neighbors told Action News that they didn’t know the family well, but suspected that something might have been wrong when they noticed increased activity around the house.
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"I'm sorry to hear that,” neighbor Buzz Allard said. “I'll pray for them."
Edwards' criminal history shows that he had been arrested at least three times in St. Johns County for charges including criminal mischief, burglary and cruelty toward a child.