EXCLUSIVE: Autopsies unclear on how victims of suspected ‘shopping cart killer’ died

Autopsies have been unable to determine how three victims of suspected “shopping cart killer” Anthony Eugene Robinson died, WTOP has learned.

Robinson is suspected of killing at least four people whose remains were found in Alexandria and Harrisonburg, Virginia, as well as the District. Police have been on the search for possible additional victims.

Currently, Robinson is charged with two counts of first-degree murder and disposing of the bodies of two female victims, who were found in a vacant Harrisonburg lot in late November.

Those victims were identified as Allene Elizabeth Redmon, 54, of Harrisonburg, and Tonita Lorice Smith, 39, of Charlottesville.

WTOP has learned the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of Virginia’s Western District, in Roanoke, has declared the cause of Redmon and Smith’s deaths as “Homicidal violence of undetermined etiology,” and ruled the manner of death is homicide.

Robinson has not been charged in Fairfax County in the deaths of two other victims — Stephanie Harrison, 48, of Redding, California, and Cheyenne Brown, 29, of Southeast D.C. Their remains were found in a plastic container near a shopping cart in a wooded area near the 2400 block of Fairhaven Avenue.

Investigators in D.C. continue to investigate whether Sonya Champ, whose remains were found in a shopping cart covered by a blanket in the District, may be the fifth victim of Robinson.

First reported on WTOP, the woman’s body was found in the 200 block of F Street NE, a few blocks from Union Station.

In January, Beverly Fields, spokeswoman with the D.C. Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, said an autopsy performed Sept. 7 classified the cause of the woman’s death as “undetermined.” That means the forensic investigation from the autopsy and information from police didn’t lead the medical examiner to conclude the death was natural, accidental, suicide or homicide.

In February, WTOP reported police and prosecutors in Fairfax County have yet to uncover evidence that would allow them to charge Robinson with killing Harrison, one of the Fairfax County victims. However, police said murder charges would soon be filed in Brown’s death.

“We can place the offender in the area of where Stephanie Harrison’s remains were found,” Maj. Ed O’Carroll, head of the Fairfax County Police Major Crimes and Cyber and Forensic Bureau told WTOP on Feb. 25. “Forensic evidence, including DNA, will be pivotal in linking our offender with Ms. Harrison’s killing.”

An administrator with the medical examiner’s Northern District tells WTOP the autopsies of Harrison and Brown remain pending.

Court records show Robinson’s Harrisonburg defense attorney Louis Nagy and prosecutors agreed to delay Robinson’s scheduled May 9 hearing until Sept. 12, to allow both sides to examine and explore the contents of the recently completed report by the medical examiner.

WTOP is seeking comment from Fairfax County police and prosecutors on any future charges. Bill Miller, a spokesman with D.C.’s U.S. Attorney’s Office declined comment.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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