SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — A missing Northern California woman may have been murdered by a man who police dubbed the “shopping cart killer,” investigators said.
Stephanie Harrison, 48, of Redding, Calif., has not been seen or heard from since August. She was vacationing on the East Coast when she vanished.
Anthony Eugene Robinson, 35, of Washington D.C., is the prime suspect for four homicides. Law enforcement officers call Robinson the “shopping cart killer” because he allegedly used shopping carts to move and dump murder victims’ bodies in remote areas.
Harrison may have been one of his victims, police said.
Investigators found the bodies of four women in Virginia. Police believe Robinson met some of the women on dating websites before luring them to motels.
Fairfax County Police Chief Kevin Davis said at a Dec. 17 press conference, “We have a serial killer. He does unspeakable things with his victims. He is in custody. The challenge that remains is identifying other victims.”
Davis said, “He’s called the ‘shopping cart killer’ because he meets his victims on dating sites. He meets his victims then at motels. After he inflicts trauma to his victims and kills them, he transports their bodies to their final resting place literally in a shopping cart. And there is video to that effect.”
Detectives identified three of the four slain women: Tonita Lorice Smith, 39, and Allene Elizabeth “Beth” Redmon, 54, and Cheyenne Brown, 29.
Brown’s body was found in a plastic container left next to a red shopping cart in Fairfax County, Virginia, earlier this month. There was also a second woman’s body inside that remains unidentified.
Investigators are working to find out if DNA from the second body matches Harrison’s DNA.
Harrison was last heard from on August 19 when she talked to her sister on the phone. During their conversation, she told her sister that she had spent the day touring the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C.
Later that day, Harrison checked into the Moon Inn Motel in Fairfax County, Virginia.
“She stayed at the same hotel as our killer,” Fairfax County Police Department spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi told WTOP.
The day Brown went missing, on Sept. 30, she too stayed at the Moon Inn Motel.
The plastic container was found Dec. 15 by police who were searching for Brown near the motel.
Detectives tracked down video surveillance that revealed Brown met Robinson at a metro station in Washington D.C. before they went to the motel. Further investigation revealed that they had communicated through a dating website.
The suspected serial killer was arrested last month on first-degree murder charges. Robinson was charged with the murders of Redmon and Smith.
Police need to confirm more forensic evidence before they charge him with murdering the third and fourth victims.
“We will need the confirmed ID’s from DNA. Hopefully (an) autopsy will reveal a cause and manner of death. We have enough evidence to place him at the scene with (Brown) and science will have to carry us the rest of the way to prove he killed her,” Guglielmi told WTOP.
Chief Davis said, “He’s killed four already. We suspect there may be other victims. We are going to find out exactly where he’s been … to see if we can identify any other victims and families he has brought harm to.”
“What’s his MO? Dating sites, motels, blunt force trauma. shopping carts, final resting place,” Davis said.