(KRON) — A Northern California woman was murdered by an East Coast serial killer who preyed on victims through dating apps and lured women to motels, investigators said.
Stephanie Harrison was murdered by the “shopping cart killer” while she was on vacation in Washington D.C., Virginia police said at a recent news conference.
“DNA evidence has confirmed the identities of Cheyenne Brown, 29 years old, of Washington D.C., and Stephanie Harrison, 48 years old, of Redding, Calif., as the victims found in a container near the Moon Inn Motel in Alexandria, (Virginia),” Fairfax County Police Chief Kevin Davis said.
The accused serial killer is 35-year-old Anthony Eugene Robinson. He is currently behind bars in Rockingham County Jail.
Police dubbed Robinson the “shopping cart killer” because he allegedly used shopping carts to move victims’ bodies from motels to remote areas.
He met women online using the “Plenty Of Fish” dating app, as well as the “Tagged” app, according to police.
“We have a serial killer. He does unspeakable things with his victims. What’s his MO? Dating sites, motels, blunt force trauma. shopping carts, final resting place,” Davis said.
The bodies of Harrison and Brown were found together inside a plastic container on Dec. 15 after homicide detectives spotted a red shopping cart left near the Moon Inn Motel in Virginia.
Police identified four victims who they suspect were killed by Robinson inside motels: Harrison, Brown, 39-year-old Tonita Lorice Smith, and 54-year-old Allene Elizabeth Redmon.
All four women were classified as “missing” for months before they were found dead last winter.
Harrison was last heard from on August 19, 2021. Harrison called her sister and said she had spent the day touring the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C. Her credit card history showed she checked into the Moon Inn Motel on the same night she went missing.
The day Brown vanished, she too stayed at the Moon Inn 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 Sept. 30. Further investigation revealed that they had communicated through “Plenty Of Fish.”
Smith and Redmon were found dead near a shopping cart left by a Harrisonburg, Virginia hotel in November.
Robinson is a New York native whose most recent address was in D.C.
Investigators are currently trying to map out Robinson’s whereabouts, create a timeline of his life, and paint a behavioral profile to find more victims. Thirty-six police agencies and the FBI met last week to comb over more missing person cases.
“Our major crimes detectives are looking for anyone who may have interacted with Robinson on these dating apps. We believe there are others … who could provide crucial information to us about him,” Davis said.
“Robinson has stayed at the Moon Inn motel on at least five other occasions, and we need to know more,” Davis said.
FCPD cyber and forensics bureau chief Ed O’Carroll did not say if Harrison ever communicated with Robinson through a dating app.
“We are looking at this case scientifically, through that digital footprint,” O’Carroll said.
Police received a “critical tip” last week of a possible fifth victim. A woman’s body was found covered by a blanket in a shopping cart in Washington, D.C., O’Carroll said. Her name was not released.
“We believe this may be Anthony Eugene Robinson’s fifth victim,” O’Carroll said.
Davis said he is grateful Robinson is currently locked in jail. “It gives us the ability to work backwards while he’s still not out there killing,” he added.
Harrison’s daughter, Destiny Livingston, said her mother was a kind, beloved mother and grandmother who would give her last dime to anyone who needed help.
Livingston wrote on Facebook, “Mom… you were always my person. You called at midnight no matter where we were in the world… this year was silent. My heart goes out to the other three families that have been affected by this monster. I hope all these women are found and get the justice & closure they deserve.”
Brown’s family said she had a huge heart, was trusting, and “thought of everyone as her friend.”