A man authorities are calling the shopping cart killer, who they suspect killed at least four people across Virginia, is in custody after video evidence was used to connect him to two bodies found in an open area, police said Friday. .
The man, Anthony Robinson, met victims on online dating sites, took them to motels to kill them and carried their remains in shopping carts to “their final resting place”, Kevin Davis said, the Fairfax County Police Chief, during a press conference on Friday. He added that “there may be other casualties in the area and throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia,” as well as in other East Coast states.
Mr. Robinson, 35, was held at Rockingham-Harrisonburg Regional Jail in Harrisonburg, Virginia, 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 open ground in the city’s commercial district. Videos show Mr Robinson dropping off victims in the parking lot using shopping carts, Chief Davis said.
The Harrisonburg and Charlottesville Police Departments had been conducting separate missing persons investigations looking for the two women – Allene Elizabeth Redmon, 54, of Harrisonburg and Tonita Lorice Smith, 39, of Charlottesville – when their remains were found. discovered Nov. 23, Harrisonburg Police Chief Kelley Warner said Friday.
The bodies of the two women were found a short distance apart, but they had been killed at different times, Chief Warner added.
Mr Robinson was arrested shortly after the discoveries, which led to more evidence. Washington, DC police contacted the Harrisonburg Major Crimes Division on Nov. 30 to note that the last contact a missing person they were investigating had spoken to was Mr. Robinson. These phone records led police to search an area near the Moon Inn in Fairfax County.
On Wednesday, investigators discovered a plastic container next to a Target shopping cart hidden in a secluded wooded area in Fairfax County near Alexandria. The container contained the remains of two other victims.
Officers tentatively identified one of the victims as 29-year-old Cheyenne Brown, who was last seen September 30 when she rode the Washington Metro to the Huntington stop in Alexandria. Cell phone and video recordings place Mr Robinson and Ms Brown at Huntington Tube Station on the same day, according to Major Ed O’Carroll, chief of the police’s Major Crimes, Cybercrime and Forensics Bureau of Fairfax County.
Other remains found in the container were badly decomposed and will take longer to identify, Chief Davis said.
“He’s already killed four, and we suspect he has more victims,” Chief Davis said. “He preys on the weak, he preys on the vulnerable and he does untold things with his victims.”
Authorities are now conducting a “retrospective” investigation to learn more about Mr Robinson’s whereabouts and identify other potential victims.
“We know who he is, thank God he’s behind bars right now,” Chief Davis said. “But that doesn’t take away from the urgency that exists to identify other victims who may be here.”
“That’s what worries us,” said the chief. “He didn’t suddenly become what he is three months ago.” Mr Robinson has “a remarkable absence of criminal history” and had had numerous jobs and addresses ranging from New York to Fairfax, Virginia.
“This fleeting nature prompted us to find out where he was over the past few years,” said Chief Davis.
Authorities begin the investigation by cross-referencing Mr. Robinson’s online dating connections with missing persons reports.
Chief Warner said Mr Robinson had not made any sort of cooperative statement to the police since his arrest.