A woman’s corpse found covered ‘only in a blanket’ in a shopping cart last September may have been the first victim of the ‘shopping cart killer,’ a Washington, DC, man accused of killing four other women by luring them on dating apps to hotel rooms before murdering them and carting their bodies to nondescript locations.
Anthony Eugene Robinson, 35, is charged in the murders of two women whose bodies were found in a parking lot in Harrisonburg, Virginia, in November and suspected of killing two women whose remains were found in a wooded area of Alexandria in Fairfax County last month.
Those murders followed the killing of 40-year-old Sonya Champ, who was discovered near Union Station in the nation’s capital on September 7 by a passerby who alerted police.
In a press briefing on Friday, Fairfax County Police Maj. Edward O’Carroll said he suspects Robinson killed the woman.
‘We believe this may be Anthony Eugene Robinson’s fifth victim,’ O’Carroll said. ‘This is based on digital evidence that puts him in the same vicinity around the time of the victim’s disappearance. It’s sad and tragic.’
Anthony Eugene Robinson of Washington D.C., 35 (pictured), has been charged with killing two women in Harrisonburg and dumping their corpses in a parking lot. He is suspected of killing two additional women, whose bodies were found near Alexandria, and another woman whose body was found near Union Station on September 7
Sonya Champ of Washington D.C., 40 (pictured), may be the fifth victim of the ‘Shopping Cart Killer,’ who police suspect is Anthony Eugene Robinson, 35
The remains of Cheyenne Brown, 29, and Stephanie Harrison, 48, were found in a wooded area on the 2400 block of Fairhaven Avenue in Alexandria near this shopping cart (pictured) on December 15
Champ’s mother, Norma Hairston (pictured), said she is ‘at peace with it now because now [she] knows what really happened to [her] daughter’
Champ’s mother, Norma Hairston, said she is ‘at peace with it now because now [she] knows what really happened to [her] daughter.’
‘I heard about it early today and I’m still comprehending everything,’ Hairston told WUSA9. ‘It’s bringing back the memories.’
She described Champ as a ‘sweet person’ who was introverted, but loved being around family and helping others.
O’Carroll also said Friday that the killer’s two potential victims found in Alexandria had been positively identified as pregnant mother-of-one Cheyenne Brown of Washington D.C., 29, and Stephanie Harrison, 48, of Redding, California.
Police initially believed Brown to be one of the victims based on a distinctive tattoo described by her family, but were awaiting DNA confirmation.
Both Brown and Harrison’s bodies were found on December 15 near the Moon Inn in a wooded area on the 2400 block of Fairhaven Avenue in Alexandria. O’Carroll said at an earlier press briefing that Robinson had taken the women to the hotel after matching with them on dating apps.
The bodies of Cheyenne Brown (left), a 29-year-old pregnant mom-of-one, and Stephanie Harrison, 48, of Redding, California, were found in a large plastic container together near Alexandria on December 15
Police said Robinson would meet his victims on dating sites and then take them to the Moon Inn Hotel in Fairfax County (pictured), before doing ‘unspeakable things’ to them
During a search of the hotel, police found a red shopping cart nearby and recalled that the killer had used a shopping cart to transport victims’ bodies. Near the shopping cart was a large plastic container that held the remains of the two women.
O’Carroll said that Robinson was the last person to be seen alive with Brown after the two had matched on the Plenty of Fish dating app. Police also believe that Robinson used the Tagged app to lure prospective victims. Cellular data also placed Brown and Robinson at the same location the night of her disappearance on September 30.
Brown was last seen leaving her home in the 200 block of 36th Street in the Southeast section of DC at around 3pm September 30.
Her family said the 29-year-old, who has a seven-year-old son, was pregnant with her second child at the time of her disappearance.
After police announced Robinson’s arrest in late November in connection with the deaths of Redmon and Smith, Brown’s family became concerned that she had been harmed by him as well.
Brown’s cousin, Jonathan Willis, told NBC Washington prior to the discovery of her remains that he believes Robinson was the man who was with Brown in her home about 10 days before she disappeared.
‘My heart is broken,’ Nicadra Brown, Cheyenne’s mother, told The Washington Post. ‘Just the thought of my baby not being here is devastating. It’s like a bad dream I just want to wake up from.’
Receipt records show that they stayed together at the Moon Inn on the same day, and that Robinson had stayed at the hotel on at least five other occasions, Fairfax County Police Chief Kevin Davis said at the Friday press briefing.
Robinson was initially charged in connection to the killings of two women found dead from blunt force trauma on November 23, found near each other in an open lot at the intersection of Route 33 and Interstate 81 in the commercial district of Harrisonburg in Virginia.
Both women – Allene Elizabeth ‘Beth’ Redmon of Harrisonburg, 54, and Tonita Lorice Smith of Charlottesville, 39, had matched with Robinson on dating sites then met with him at a hotel.
Video surveillance and cellphone records connected him with the two women, according to the Harrisonburg Police Department.
Robinson was arrested in late November and charged with two counts of murder stemming from the deaths of Tonita Smith, 39 (left), and Allene Redmon, 54 (right) who were found near each other in a parking lot in Harrisonburg on November 23
Investigators believe that both women’s corpses had been transported to the scene in a shopping cart.
Police did not say whether the victims were sexually assaulted, but Davis stated bluntly during the press conference that the suspect did ‘unspeakable things with his victims.’
Redmon, a mother of two and a grandmother, had vanished sometime around October 24. Her last sighting was in the downtown area of Harrisonburg.
Smith, a mother of six, had last been seen on November 14 in the 300 block of 10 1/2 Street near Charlottesville. Her mother reported her missing on 19.
Smith was the aunt of Sage Smith, a 19-year-old from Charlottesville who went missing in November 2012. Erik McFadden, 29, a person of interest in that case, was supposed to be interviewed by the police but vanished in 2019.
Thus far, Robinson has been charged with two felony counts of first-degree murder and two felony counts of concealing, transporting or altering a dead body.
Louis Nagy, his attorney, said that he is not commenting on the charges or new allegations.
Smith was a mother of six and the aunt of Sage Smith, 19, who went missing in 2012
Robinson is currently being held in the Rockingham County Adult Detention Center, and is awaiting trial on the Harrisonburg homicides. Fairfax County police said there are additional charges pending in that case.
‘Thankfully, he’s incarcerated and it gives us the ability to work backwards while he’s still not out there killing,’ Davis said.
‘The fact that he is awaiting trial in Harrisonburg, Virginia, allows us to continue to build our probable cause to charge him eventually here in Fairfax County.’
‘The challenge is identifying other victims.’
Davis said Robinson has lived in multiple locations along the East Coast in recent years, including in New York. Police have met with members of surrounding police departments to see if any missing persons cases could be attributed to Robinson.
They are also urging are anyone who connected with Robinson on dating apps to come forward as part of their investigation.
‘We believe there are survivors out there,’ Davis said. ‘We remain very determined to continue to dig deep and get to the bottom of this.’