‘Shopping cart killer’ suspected in four deaths, police say
A man authorities call the shopping cart killer, who they suspect killed at least four people across Virginia, is in custody after video evidence was used to link him to two bodies found in open ground, police said on Friday. .
The man, Anthony Robinson, met victims on online dating sites, took them to motels to kill them and transported their remains in shopping carts to “their final resting place,” Davis said, Fairfax County Police Chief at a press conference on Friday. He added that “there could be other casualties in the area and throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia,” as well as in other states on the east coast.
Mr Robinson, 35, was held at Rockingham-Harrisonburg Regional Jail in Harrisonburg, Va. On two counts of murder since late last month, after video evidence and phone recordings were used to link him to two female victims whose remains were found in a vacant lot in the city’s commercial district. Videos show Mr Robinson dropping off victims in the lot using shopping carts, Chief Davis said.
The Harrisonburg and Charlottesville Police Departments had conducted separate missing person investigations looking for the two women – Allene Elizabeth Redmon, 54, of Harrisonburg and Tonita Lorice Smith, 39, of Charlottesville – when their remains were discovered Nov. 23, Kelley Warner, the Harrisonburg police chief, said Friday.
The bodies of the two women were found a short distance from each other, but they were killed at different times, Chief Warner added.
Mr Robinson was arrested shortly after the findings, leading to more evidence. Washington, DC, police contacted the Harrisonburg Major Crimes Division on November 30 to note that the last contact a missing person they were investigating spoke with was Mr. Robinson. These phone records led police to search an area near the Moon Inn in Fairfax County.
Investigators on Wednesday discovered a plastic container next to a Target shopping cart tucked away in a remote wooded area in Fairfax County, near Alexandria. The container contained the remains of two other victims.
Officers tentatively identified one of the victims as Cheyenne Brown, 29, who was last seen on September 30, when she took the Washington subway to the Huntington stop in Alexandria. Cell phone and video tapes put Mr Robinson and Ms Brown at Huntington tube station the same day, according to Major Ed O’Carroll, chief of the Major Crimes, Cybercrime and Forensics Bureau of the Fairfax County Police.
The other remains found in the container were poorly decomposed and will take longer to identify, Chief Davis said.
“He’s already killed four and we believe he has more casualties,” Chief Davis said. “He attacks the weak, he attacks the vulnerable, and he does unspeakable things with his victims.”
Authorities are now conducting a “retrospective” investigation to learn more about Mr. Robinson’s movements and identify other potential victims.
“We know who he is, thank goodness he’s behind bars right now,” Chief Davis said. “But that still doesn’t take away from the urgency of identifying other victims who may be here.”
“This is what worries us,” said the chef. “He didn’t suddenly become what he was three months ago.” Mr. Robinson has “a remarkable lack of criminal history” and had had numerous jobs and addresses ranging from New York to Fairfax, Virginia.
“This fleeting nature prompted us to understand where he has been over the past few years, ”said Chief Davis.
Authorities begin the investigation by cross-checking Mr Robinson’s online dating links with the missing persons reports.
Chief Warner said Mr Robinson had not made any kind of cooperative statement to police since his arrest.