One day in 1980, when April Balascio was 11 years old, her father, Edward Wayne Edwards, woke up the household and told his wife and kids to start packing. They were leaving Watertown, Wisconsin, where they’d lived for about a year — and they were leaving immediately.
The scenario wasn’t unfamiliar: The Edwards family was nomadic, roaming from town to town every six months to a year, at their father’s whim, and often without warning.
“He’d tell us that we had to move in secret because he was protecting us, because there were people who wanted to hurt him or us,” Balascio, now 48, tells PEOPLE.
It would be decades before Balascio, beginning with her own online investigation in March 2009, discovered it was her father who was actually running from the law — that the man who walked her down the aisle had also murdered at least five people.
Thanks in part to a fateful phone call Balascio made to investigators, Edwards was arrested a few months after she started looking for answers.
The case will be featured on Monday night’s episode of People Magazine Investigateson Investigation Discovery, exclusively previewed above.
• For more on Edward Edwards’ dark secrets and his daughter’s search for the truth, subscribe now to PEOPLE or pick up this week’s issue, on newsstands Friday.
“He could be very good with us kids,” she says. “He was sociable, charming … but he could also be abusive. When he was abusive, it was hell.”
Now a mom, wife and personal trainer in Ohio, who restores and refurbishes used and antique furniture for a living, Balascio is confident in her choice to investigate her dad and turn him in.
• Watch the premiere of People Magazine Investigates: My Father, The Serial Killer on Monday, Jan. 15, at 8 p.m. ET on Investigation Discovery.
She’s also sure no one could ever confuse her or her siblings, who are all successful and hard-working, with having inherited any part of him.
“He instilled honesty in us,” she says, “maybe because he didn’t want us to be like him.”