During a recent press conference, law enforcement officials in the DC metro area said that a 35-year-old man who was charged last month in the killing of two women is likely a serial killer and the prime suspect in the deaths of at least two more women and perhaps more.
Investigators believe Anthony Robinson is the so-called “shopping cart killer.” They said that he met his victims on dating websites and then allegedly lured them into motels, where he then killed them and transported their bodies in shopping carts.
Fairfax County Police Chief Kevin Davis said during a press conference that they believe that the “shopping cart killer” is responsible for the deaths of at least four women, and they are now trying to connect Robinson to other unsolved homicides in the area.
Davis labeled Robinson a “serial killer” during the press conference.
“That is a phrase that I’ve used sparingly in my three decades in this profession,” Davis said.
“We’re in the process of conducting, along with many other partners, a retrospective investigation to figure out where he’s been,” Davis said. “And we’re going to work with our law enforcement partners, homicide detectives, missing person detectives, to see if we can identify any other victims and families and communities that he has brought harm to,” the Chief added.
Anthony Robinson, 35, of Washington, DC, has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder and two felony counts of concealing, transporting, or altering a dead body, according to ABC affiliate WHSV.
Authorities said that two victims have been positively identified, and one has been tentatively identified by family members. A fourth victim remains unidentified. However, the police believe there are more victims.
Harrisonburg Chief of Police Kelley Warner said Robinson was arrested as a result of video surveillance and cell phone records placing him near the location in Harrisonburg where two of the victims, Allene Elizabeth Redmon, 54, of Harrisonburg, and Tonita Lorice Smith, 39, of Charlottesville, were found.
Harrisonburg police and the Charlottesville Police Department were conducting two separate missing person investigations, which narrowed the focus for both departments to the vacant lot, Harrisonburg Police Chief Kelley Warner said. Police believe Redmon and Smith died at separate times, Warner added.
On Nov. 30, the Metropolitan Police Department contacted Harrisonburg police after they determined Robinson could be the last person to have contact with Cheyenne Brown, a missing person from Washington, DC, Warner said. Authorities had determined Robinson was communicating with Brown through a dating website right before her disappearance.
Harrisonburg police determined through cell phone records the contact between Robinson and Brown took place “in and around the area” of a motel called the Moon Inn on Richmond Highway in Alexandria, Virginia, Warner said.
On Dec. 7, Fairfax County detectives received a call for assistance from the DC police for help in locating Brown. Detectives were informed Brown, 29, took the metro from DC to the Huntington Metro stop in Virginia on Sept. 30 and never returned, said Major Ed O’Carroll of Fairfax’s Major Crimes and Cyber and Forensics Bureau.
Fairfax detectives and the Metro Transit Police Department executed a search warrant for cellular data they say confirmed Brown and Robinson were at the same location on Sept. 30, the night of her disappearance, O’Carroll said.
On Dec. 15, homicide detectives located a shopping cart in the wooded area surrounding the Moon Inn, O’Carroll said. In a container near the shopping cart, detectives found the human remains of two people, he added.
Authorities “tentatively believe” the remains recovered from the container are Brown’s, based upon a “very distinct tattoo” she had on her body, which was identified by her family, O’Carroll said. The identity of the other individual whose remains were also found inside the container is still unknown, but authorities said Robinson is a suspect in that death.
Robinson is currently being held in Rockingham County.
“The good thing is, he’s in custody,” Davis said. “The challenge that remains is identifying other victims.”
As of Friday, Robinson is believed to be connected to the deaths of four victims. But authorities said that he was transient and was known to have traveled as far north as New York. Police said that they are in contact with law enforcement agencies in and around Virginia to determine where else Robinson may have traveled and could have harmed others.
“We believe that there may be other victims in the area and throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia, and we need to act now,” Davis said. “He’s behind bars right now, but that still doesn’t take away from the urgency that exists to identify any other victims that might be out there, literally, beyond the Commonwealth of Virginia and up the East Coast.”
Anyone with information is urged to call (703) 246-7800, and tips can also be submitted anonymously at 1-866-411-TIPS.