WATCH: Serial Killer Edward Edwards Was a Game Show Contestant Years Before Daughter Turned Him In
"People in the community liked him, which always bothered me because he was saying one thing and doing another," Edwards' daughter says
April Balascio always knew her father, Edward Wayne Edwards, had a troubled past. He grew up in an orphanage where he claimed he’d been abused, gotten dishonorably discharged from the Army and eventually turned to a life of crime, spending time in prison for arson and robbing gas stations, and even appearing on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted list.
But by the time Edwards met Balascio’s mother, Kay, he claimed to be completely reformed.
What no one suspected was that he wasn’t just lying — he was a killer.
Charming and intelligent, Edwards used his past to gain fame and notoriety, writing a bestselling book, Metamorphosis of a Criminal, and touring colleges and churches, speaking to crowds about how he had turned his life around.
He even appeared on an episode of the game show To Tell the Truth, in 1972, where a celebrity panel had to guess which of three contestants had once been a convicted felon.
He and Kay had five kids together, and Edwards gave every appearance of being a happy family man, supporting his family by buying and fixing up houses and then selling them.
“When he was young, [my dad was] very good-looking, charming, a ladies’ man, very well-liked,” Balascio says in an exclusive clip (above) from a PeopleTV special about what she ultimately discovered about her father.
• Watch the full episode of People Crime: April Balascio — A Daughter’s Decision, streaming now on PeopleTV. Go to People.com/peopletv, or download the app on your favorite streaming device.
“People in the community liked him, which always bothered me because he was saying one thing and doing another,” Balascio says. “He was either extremely loving and kind or he was extremely abusive, verbally and physically.”
More and more estranged from Edwards over the years, Balascio began digging into her suspicions about her father in 2009.
• 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.
“I finally decided to try to start investigating or looking up, researching, cold cases that I thought my dad had committed,” she says.
What she found shocked and sickened her: Edwards was responsible for not just one murder but five, having killed two couples in Ohio and Wisconsin as well as his own son.
But Balascio didn’t keep this information to herself.
After a fateful phone call she made to the authorities, Edwards was taken into custody in July 2009, where he confessed to all five slayings.
He died behind bars in 2011.
Balascio sometimes wishes she had asked her father the question that repeats over and over in her own head.
“I want to know, ‘Why?’ ” she told PEOPLE for last week’s cover story. “But I think I know. … It was a cat-and-mouse game with him.”