A D.C. police official confirmed investigators in Brown’s case are looking into a murder investigation in Harrisonburg, Va., a city about 130 miles from the District. The suspect in that case has not been charged in connection with Brown’s disappearance.
Dustin Sternbeck, a D.C. police spokesman, said detectives are “looking at this individual for being tied to one of our missing person cases.”
Authorities in Harrisonburg, an hour’s drive from Charlottesville, announced Nov. 24 they had charged Anthony Robinson, 35, of the District, with two counts of first-degree murder and concealing the victim’s bodies in a vacant lot in the city.
The dead women were identified as Allene Elizabeth Redmon, 54, of Harrisonburg, and Tonita Lorice Smith, 39, of Charlottesville. Efforts to reach Redmon’s family was unsuccessful. Smith’s aunt said she did not want to comment.
Police said they think Redmon was killed on or around Oct. 24 and Smith was killed on or around Nov. 14, both near the time they disappeared. Their bodies were found Nov. 23. The cause and manner of death for each is pending.
Lt. Todd Miller of the Harrisonburg Police Department said the arrest and the discovery of the bodies happened “almost simultaneously.” He said Robinson was arrested on a street near the lot where the bodies were found.
Miller said Robinson had recently come to Harrisonburg and “was just staying here briefly for work.” He said investigators are now “just trying to backtrack to places where he’s been, and brief agencies in those areas as to what we have, and see if there may be any connection with any outstanding cases.”
He declined to say where Robinson worked or how he may have met Redmon and Smith. The suspect’s attorney declined to comment, as did a person who answered the phone at an address for Robinson in the District. A court date is set for Dec. 27 in Harrisonburg.
WRC-TV first reported a potential link between a missing person in the District and the case in Virginia.
Brown’s mother, Nicadra Brown, said her family thinks Cheyenne Brown had contact with Robinson, though she does not know how they met.
She described her daughter, who has a learning disability, as “very friendly.” The mother added, “She wouldn’t hurt a soul, even if someone did something bad to her. … She was probably too nice.”
Nicadra Brown, 46, said her daughter and 7-year-old grandson live with her. Nicadra Brown said she was out of the country for work in mid-to-late September and believes her daughter first met Robinson during that time. She said a man she thinks was Robinson had been to her house while Cheyenne Brown was there, and that word of the visit reached other relatives.
A cousin, Jonathan Willis, said he went to Nicadra Brown’s house and confronted the man and told him he had to leave, as strangers were not allowed in the home.
Willis said the man left quietly. Nicadra Brown said she returned from her trip Sept. 25, and asked her daughter about the man who had been there.
She said her daughter told her the man had “no place else to go.” Cheyenne Brown disappeared five days later.
Willis, 27, said that on the morning of Thanksgiving Day he saw Robinson’s photo that had been released by police in Harrisonburg and reposted by @killmoenews, a social media account run by a journalist in the D.C. area.
“I said, ‘He was just in our house,’ ” Willis said Monday. “I remembered his face.”
Willis said he called Nicadra Brown, who called D.C. police.
Nicadra Brown said she has not heard from her daughter since she disappeared. “I pray to God that she is okay,” she said.
Magda Jean-Louis contributed to this report.