Fairfax County, Virginia, police investigators are flying to California to gather DNA samples in hopes of identifying the fourth victim of the man dubbed the “Shopping Cart Killer.”
Anthony Guglielmi, lead spokesman for the Fairfax County Police Department, told WTOP detectives believe the victim could be Stephanie Harrison, a California woman last heard from on Aug. 19, 2021.
A key clue was a missing person poster taped on U.S. Route 1.
Police on Friday said Anthony Eugene Robinson is suspected of killing at least four people whose remains were found in Fairfax County and Harrisonburg.
Robinson is currently charged with two counts of first-degree murder, after two female victims were found in a vacant Harrisonburg lot in late November. Those victims were identified as 54-year-old Allene Elizabeth Redmon of Harrisonburg and 39-year-old Tonita Lorice Smith of Charlottesville.
Fairfax County police said human remains were found last Wednesday in an isolated wooded area near the 2400 block of Fairhaven Avenue in Fairfax County. The remains were placed in a large plastic container by a shopping cart near a motel called the Moon Inn.
Although still waiting for DNA confirmation, police believe one of the victims is 29-year-old Cheyenne Brown of Southeast D.C. after her family members recognized her tattoos. Robinson was talking to Brown on a dating site and was four months pregnant at the time of her death.
“When we found the body, we also found these random flyers on Route 1,” said Guglielmi. “There’s no missing persons report for this woman in Fairfax County, Alexandria or Arlington.”
“We did reach out to the Redding, California, police department after seeing this, and they do, in fact, have a report,” Guglielmi added. “We believe based on the flyer and check-in records that she stayed at the same hotel as our killer.”
Guglielmi said detectives will gather more forensic evidence in their attempt to identify the fourth victim.
“We’re going to fly out there to get a DNA sample, just to be sure,” Guglielmi said. “If it matches the DNA of the body recovered, we’ll have to work backward to figure out how they intersected.”
The missing person flyer was created by The Aware Foundation, a Roanoke, Virginia, safety awareness group that helps families and friends spread the word about a missing person through social media and working with law enforcement.
“I’ve been on the phone most of the evening with the sister of Stephanie Harrison. She is 99.9% sure that her sister is the fourth victim of the serial killer,” said Kenny Jarels, founder of The Aware Foundation.
According to the flyer, Harrison was visiting the nation’s capital on August 19, when her sister last heard from her.
The poster, created in September, said bank records showed Stephanie Harrison checked into the Moon Inn. “That is the last time anyone heard from her,” according to the missing person poster.
“It was Stephanie’s daughter who first found out her mom stayed at the Moon Inn,” Stephanie’s sister Joei tells WTOP. “She checked her bank several days later, after no one heard from her.”
The flyer also notes: “Stephanie suffers from schizophrenia, is in need of medications and may need medical attention. She is very vulnerable and gullible in her mental state.”
Jarels said Harrison’s sister, who lives in California, had a friend laminate over 300 flyers which were posted by volunteers in Fairfax County near Alexandria, and elsewhere throughout the D.C. region.
Guglielmi said police are waiting for additional forensic evidence before charging Robinson in connection with the two bodies found in the plastic container.
“It will be a while. We will need the confirmed IDs from DNA and hopefully autopsy will reveal a cause and manner of death. We have enough evidence to place him at the scene with (Cheyenne Brown) and science will have to carry us the rest of the way to prove he killed her.”
“We want to find out who that fourth body is,” said Guglielmi, “and we’re trying to see if there are additional missing person cases in Alexandria city, Arlington or the District that might match the MO.”