His charming exterior was belied by the violent temper he showed those close to him. He was physically and verbally abusive to Balascio’s mom, even hospitalizing her multiple times.
Also, Edwards had a peculiar fixation with crime, collecting newspaper clippings about local murders and often contacting police about their investigations.
Finally, he would make his family move every six months to a year, often rousing them in the middle of the night without warning to tell them to pack up.
“Kids aren’t stupid,” Balascio, now 48, says in last week’s issue of PEOPLE. “There were dead bodies. Someone was always murdered wherever we lived.”
In 2009, Balascio, who married and had three children of her own, felt compelled to act on her long-held suspicions and began investigating her father’s past online. She’d eventually learn a horrifying truth: Her father had murdered at least five people.
It was Balascio who initially contacted police. She had unsettling information about the 1980 murders of Timothy Hack and Kelly Drew, who disappeared from a Watertown, Wisconsin, venue called the Concord House — where Edwards had worked as a handyman before the family skipped town.
The tip led to Edwards’ arrest weeks later, but even at that point, Balascio hoped her suspicions would be proven wrong.
“During this whole process, you’re still holding out for hope that he’s not this monster that I think he is, that he’s just my dad and has a temper,” she says in the PeopleTV clip shown exclusively above.
• For more on Edward Edwards’ dark secrets and his daughter’s search for the truth, pick up last week’s issue of PEOPLE, still on newsstands.
But when Det. Chad Garcia of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s office told Balascio that Edwards’ DNA was a match to that found on the victims, she knew that her dad was who she thought he was: a serial killer.
“I remember I was in the car, and I called up Det. Garcia, and I asked him about the match for the DNA. And he said there was no mistake, and there was a match,” she says tearfully in the clip.
“And I literally went into a panic attack, or an anxiety attack. Had to pull off to the side of the road. And that’s when it really hit me that all the suspicions I had about my father were true.”