Authorities in Virginia believe an alleged serial killer, who they’ve dubbed the “shopping cart killer,” is responsible for the deaths of at least four people, three of whom he met on dating sites.
On Wednesday, homicide detectives found remains they believe belong to Cheyenne Brown, 29, and an unidentified second person, in a large plastic container alongside a shopping cart in a wooded area near a hotel in Alexandria, Virginia.
“Our shopping cart killer does unspeakable things with his victims,” Davis said.
Robinson, who is in custody at the Rockingham County Jail, was charged in late November with two counts of first-degree murder in connection with the deaths of two other women whose bodies were uncovered in an empty lot in Harrisonburg, Virginia.
“The commonality is how did they meet? Dating sites. How were they killed? Trauma to the body. How were they transported to their final resting place? The shopping cart. Hence, shopping cart killer.” Davis said. “I don't want to give this guy a cape, but that’s who he is. He’s a killer, he’s a serial killer.”
The tentative discovery of Brown’s body ended a monthslong search for the woman who on Sept. 30 took the Metro to Huntington and never returned, police said. Video surveillance and cellular data confirmed that Brown and Robinson were both at the same D.C. metro stop before Brown vanished that night, cops said, adding that evidence showed that the pair had previously communicated on a dating website.
Additional surveillance footage from the Moon Inn in Alexandria, was turned over to police from a period when Robinson was staying there, which overlapped with Brown’s disappearance, cops said. Digital data appeared to potentially link Brown to roughly the same location on the night she disappeared, authorities said.
Investigators located a tattoo with the name “Cheyenne” and a lily on her right arm, which helped to identify Brown, who was four months pregnant, but Davis said investigators are still trying to determine the second person’s identity. Although investigators have some leads, the “state of decomposition was so bad that it's going to take a little bit of work,” he said.
DNA testing will be used to ascertain the identities of both bodies, which police suspect Robinson may have transported using the shopping cart, he said.
According to Davis, there could be other victims—and the full extent of Robinson’s suspected involvement in these crimes could trace back much further.
“We know who he is, thank God,” Davis said. “But that still doesn't take away from the urgency that exists to identify any other victims that might be out here, literally beyond the Commonwealth of Virginia and up the East Coast.”
Police are still trying to learn more about Robinson who Davis described as “transient” on Friday, while acknowledging Robinson had a “remarkable absence” of a criminal history. Investigators have linked the suspected shopping cart killer to addresses dotting the East Coast, including New York, Prince George's County, Maryland, and Washington, D.C.
Investigators believe that in addition to Brown, Robinson met at least two of his other victims on dating websites.
Those victims—identified as Allene Elizabeth Redmon, 54, and Tonita Lorice Smith, 39—were killed just weeks apart on Oct. 24 and Nov. 14, respectively, according to police. Robinson was arrested on Nov. 23, and police haven’t ruled out the potential involvement of other suspects.
The discovery of Brown’s death casts a shadow over her family, including her 7-year-old son.
Brown’s mother, Nicadra Brown, previously told the Washington Post that she believes her slain daughter had contact with Robinson before she disappeared but wasn’t sure how they met, though it was likely in mid-to-late September, while she was out of town.
Upon her return, Nicadra said that her daughter’s cousin had found a man in their Southeast D.C. home in her absence. She said she pressed her daughter about the man, and Brown explained that he had stayed there because he had “no place else to go.” It was only five days later that Brown vanished.
“My heart is broken,” Nicadra told the Post. “Just the thought of my baby not being here is devastating. It’s like a bad dream I just want to wake up from.”