A Virginia medical examiner who did the autopsies of two women believed to be murdered by a suspected serial killer couldn't determine their exact cause of death, officials confirmed to News4.
Allene Elizabeth Redmon, 54, and Tonita Lorice Smith, 39, were found in an open lot in Harrisonburg in November 2021, police said. Police believe the women were killed at different times and said a shopping cart was found nearby.
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Virginia’s Western District ruled their cause of death to be “undetermined homicidal violence,” officials said in a statement to News4 on Thursday.
Alleged "shopping cart killer" Anthony Eugene Robinson is suspected of killing at least four women. Redmon and Smith were the first victims authorities discovered.
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Robinson’s next hearing in Rockingham County Court on the Harrisonburg charges has been delayed to Sept. 12 in light of the medical examiner's findings, officials said.
A medical examiner in Northern Virginia is still working to determine the cause of death of 48-year-old Stephanie Harrison, of Redding, California, and 29-year-old Cheyenne Brown, of Southeast D.C., who were found near a small hotel in the Alexandria section of Fairfax County in December.
Robinson has not been charged in their deaths.
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According to an investigation by police in Fairfax County, D.C. and Harrisonburg, Robinson met women online, went to motels with them, killed them and then transported their remains in shopping carts. Fairfax County police coined him the "shopping cart killer."
Authorities are also investigating a fifth death.
Robinson has not been charged or formally named a suspect in the death of 40-year-old Sonya Champ, who was found dead in a shopping cart near Union Station in Sept. 2021.
Fairfax County police said in December they were looking into Robinson’s connection to Champ’s death. The D.C. medical examiner's office ruled Champ’s cause of death undermined in January.
A relative described Champ as an outgoing woman who loved her family.
O’Carroll said digital evidence ties Robinson to Champ's disappearance.
Brown was the mother of a 7-year-old boy and was pregnant, her family said in an interview with News4 in December, desperate for answers about her disappearance.
Brown's mother wanted everyone to know that "Cheyenne had a huge heart, and she was trusting and thought of everyone as her friend," Fairfax County Chief of Police Kevin Davis said.
A family member of Brown said he believes he saw Robinson in her home days before her disappearance. Robinson is the last person seen with Brown, police said. The two communicated over the Plenty of Fish dating app, police said.
"None of these families, my family, none of these families deserve to go through this," Brown's mother, Nicandra Brown, said. "Not only, you know, is my daughter gone, he took the life of my unborn grandchild."
Harrison's sister, Joei Harrison, says Stephanie flew from California to D.C. to go sightseeing. She checked into the Moon Inn in Fairfax County in August and then disappeared.
Joei said Robinson and Stephanie were staying in separate rooms at the hotel. She said they did not know each other.
“When I think about my sister, I think about the life she lived,” Joei Harrison said. “She was beautiful, vibrant.”
Robinson is known to have lived in D.C., Prince George’s County, Maryland, and New York, Fairfax County police said.
Fairfax County police have met with 35 other law enforcement agencies to review missing person cases and see if there are any potential links, police said.
Robinson is incarcerated in the Rockingham County Adult Detention Center, police said.
Fairfax County police are seeking anyone with information about the case or Robinson. He was known to have stayed at the Moon Inn multiple times and used dating apps included Plenty of Fish and Tagged.
"What we really need is information about previous contacts," O'Carroll said. Anyone who may have had contact with Robinson is asked to contact Fairfax County police. Rewards of $100 to $1,000 are available.
Timeline of the Shopping Cart Killer Investigation
The bodies of Redmon and Smith were found a short distance from each other in a lot in a commercial district of Harrisonburg on Nov. 23, police said. Police believe the women were killed at different times. A shopping cart was found nearby.
Robinson was arrested after cellphone records and video evidence linked him to the women.
Days later, on Nov. 30, D.C. police contacted Harrisonburg police and told them about Brown, who had disappeared. Cellphone data and surveillance footage would later show that Brown and Robinson were together on the night the woman was last seen, police said.
A coordinated effort between the Harrisonburg and D.C. police departments began.
A week later, on Dec. 7, D.C. police called Fairfax County police and asked for help finding Brown, Fairfax County police said. Digital data showed Brown and Robinson had been on Route 1 together, “possibly at the Moon Inn” on the night of her disappearance.
Detectives and a cadaver dog searched the area but were unsuccessful. Members of the police department went to Harrisonburg to meet with police and gather information.
On Dec. 15, police received new information and returned to Route 1 to expand their search. Homicide detectives saw a shopping cart and a container in the wooded area not far from the Moon Inn.
Officials identified two sets of human remains.
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