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The shopping cart killer: Anthony Robinson

April 02, 2022

On November 23, 2021, the bodies of Allene Elizabeth Redmon, 54, and Tonita Lorice Smith, 39, were discovered in an unfinished parking lot in Harrisonburg,Virginia.

Elizabeth Redman, or Beth, as she was known to friends and family, was born in Harrisonburg in 1967. She was the mother of two children, and a grandmother to four. She worked at a hotel and a local chicken factory and had lost her husband a few years earlier.

Tonita Smith left behind six children who will now be without their mother on Christmas day.

Although the bodies were discovered within a short distance of one another, it was unclear if the two women were connected. One thing that did connect them, however, was their killer- suspected serial killer Anthony Robinson, 35, of D.C, who has been dubbed “the shopping cart killer” after the method he used to transport his victims.

 

Redmon is thought to have been killed around October 24, and Smith around November 14.

It is believed Robinson allegedly messaged women on a dating app, whom he met at hotels and murdered. He would then load their bodies into shopping carts and leave them in empty parking lots.

Fairfax County Police Chief Kevin Davis said of Robinson: “He didn’t suddenly turn into who he is three months ago. That’s why we are painstakingly going through his whereabouts, his relationships and employment history to figure out if in fact there are other victims.”

Anthony Robinson has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder as well as two felony counts of concealing, transporting, or altering a dead body.

The suspected serial killer is currently being detained in a Rockingham County jail without bond after being arrested for the murders of Redmon and smith, however, recently he has been deemed the main suspect in the murder of a third and fourth woman. The third victim is suspected to be missing woman Cheyenne Brown.

Although he has not yet been charged in the murder of 29-year-old Cheyenne Brown or the fourth victim, police have found evidence linking Brown to Robinson, including surveillance of the two together in D.C on September 30, 2021. Police obtained Brown's cell phone data to trace her footsteps and discovered that she had been in the vicinity of a hotel in VA, The Moon Inn, Robinson was known to be staying at around the same time. The Moonlight Inn is a budget hotel located in Alexandria, VA, around ten miles from Washington D.C. According to the hotel manager, Robinson checked in to the hotel on two separate occasions, once from August 19 till August 21 and again from September 30 to October 1. Robinson kept his head down and was a quiet guest, according to hotel staff. Police revealed that the killer had been travelling to Harrisonburg for work purposes.

Fairfax County police searched the hotel on December 7, 2021, but found nothing pertaining to the disappearance of Brown. They later returned and branched out their search, eventually stumbling upon Brown's body after an officer on the scene spotted a shopping cart in an unused parking lot near the hotel by Linda Lane in Annandale. As police approached the shopping cart, they saw there was something slumped inside, as they got closer, they realised that the mass was the bodies of two women.

Those following the case have speculated that the fourth victim may be missing woman Stephanie Harrison, who was last heard from on August 19, 2021, and disappeared from D.C. Her family, who have been doing all they can to locate her, discovered that she had checked into the Moon Inn Motel in Virginia before all contact ceased. Harrison's family described her as a vulnerable individual, suffering from Schizophrenia and in need of medication to function.

 

Although investigators were waiting on the results of a DNA test to confirm if one of the bodies was that of missing woman Cheyenne Brown, her family confirmed that the victim had the same tattoos, including a tattoo of a Lilly and Cheyenne’s name.

Brown disappeared from Washington D.C on the two hundred block of 36th Street, Southeast on September 30, 2021, at around 3:00pm. Brown left behind a child and was said to be pregnant with a second child at the time she went missing.

Family members, including Cheyenne Brown's cousin, Jonathan Willis, said Robinson had been at their home several days before Cheyenne went missing. Willis had demanded the man leave, as he had no idea who he was. Robinson left without resistance or argument. Willis later recognized the killer from a picture released by Harrisonburg police.

Police are working to expedite the DNA results so they can release the victim’s body to family.

Robinson was said to have moved around often, working a string of different jobs over the years. Police are concerned that the killer may have many more victims and have been looking into missing person cases and unsolved homicides in the areas the suspect has lived, worked, and travelled. Robinson has resided in DC, Prince George’s County, Maryland, and New York.

According to authorities, Robinson has no prior criminal record. D.C police revealed that they had run-ins with Robinson in 2012 and 2013, however, he was never arrested or charged, and the incidents involved non-violent domestic disputes and arguments as well as the unauthorized use of a vehicle.

In a recent public statement Chief Kevin Davis said: "He's a predator as all serial killers are and it is our collective effort in law enforcement to do everything, we can with each other and with the community to identify other places where he has been so we can bring closure and ultimately justice. Our shopping cart killer does unspeakable things with his victims."

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