(Updated at 2:35 p.m.) A plastic container found in the Huntington area near Route 1 on Wednesday (Dec. 15) contained the remains of two people that Fairfax County police believe to be the victims of a serial killer.
While not scientifically confirmed yet, police have determined based on a distinctive tattoo that one of the individuals found is likely Cheyenne Brown, a 29-year-old D.C. resident who went missing after taking the Metro to Huntington on Sept. 30.
The identity of the second individual is not yet known, but the suspect in the case has been identified as Anthony Robinson, 35, of D.C., who is currently in custody at the Rockingham-Harrisonburg Regional Jail and faces charges for two murders in the City of Harrisonburg.
“We have leads that will hopefully help us identify fourth victim,” Fairfax County Police Chief Kevin Davis said at a news conference this afternoon (Friday). “The state of decomposition was so bad that it’s going to take a little bit of work, but we have leads about a missing person last seen in this area.”
The Fairfax County Police Department received a call from the Metropolitan Police Department about 10 days ago, requesting assistance in locating Brown, according to Major Ed O’Carroll, commander of the FCPD’s major crimes and cyber forensics bureau.
Surveillance video showed that Brown and the suspect, presumed to be Robinson, were at the same Metro stop on the day of her disappearance. The search led detectives to a motel called Moon Inn on Route 1, where they came across an abandoned shopping cart in a wooded area in the 2400 block of Fairhaven Lane.
The container with the remains was found near the shopping cart, which police believe was used to transport the victims after they were killed, leading them to dub the suspect “the shopping cart killer.”
The two victims in Harrisonburg — Allene Elizabeth “Beth” Redmon, 54, of Harrisonburg, and Tonita Lorice Smith, 39, of Charlottesville — were also reported missing before their bodies were found on Nov. 23 in a vacant lot on Linda Lane in Harrisonburg.
Police say the killer contacted all three identified women through dating sites, and the cause of death is blunt force trauma.
Police in Fairfax County, Harrisonburg, and D.C. are now conducting a “retrospective” investigation to determine whether there were any additional victims. Davis described Robinson, who had no previous criminal history, as a “transient” person with residences ranging from D.C. and Prince George’s County up to New York.
O’Carroll said that the possibility of multiple suspects hasn’t been ruled out.
“We really don’t know,” Harrisonburg Chief of Police Kelley Warner said when asked how far back the killings might go. “That’s why we’re asking for the public’s help. We’re trying to gather as much intel as possible.”
The FCPD says that anyone with information about possible victims or Robinson’s history can contact them at 703-246-7800. The department’s anonymous tipline is also open at 1-866-411-TIPS.
“This has us shaking our head,” O’Carroll said. “The victims did nothing wrong, didn’t have to happen, but justice will prevail.”
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