Family of Missing Woman Ashanti Billie Told About Body; Identity Unconfirmed - NBC4 Washington

Family of Missing Woman Ashanti Billie Told About Body; Identity Unconfirmed

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A local family is praying that a body found in North Carolina is not Ashanti Billie, who went missing from a Virginia military base. News4's Jackie Bensen reports. (Published Friday, Sept. 29, 2017)

    Editor's note: The body found on Friday, Sept. 29 in Charlotte, North Carolina, was identified as that of Ashanti Billie. Go here for the story on Saturday, Sept. 30.

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    The family of a missing woman who was last seen at a naval base in Norfolk, Virginia, more than a week ago said they have been told a body was found Friday in Charlotte, North Carolina. 

    The family of Ashanti Billie. 19. said in a statement that they do not know if the body if Billie's. 

    "As the family awaits further updates, we ask that you continue to keep us in prayer and pray this is not Ashanti Billie," the statement said. 

    The FBI, which has been searching for Billie, said there has been no positive identification of the body. 

    More than 75 volunteers combed two Norfolk, Virginia, neighborhoods Thursday, looking for any clues that would lead them to Billie, a Prince George's County native. 

    After a two-hour search, they returned with a pink shoe and a sweatshirt, The Virginia Pilot reported.

    Billie was last seen about 5 a.m. on Sept. 18 entering Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek in Norfolk, where she is an assistant manager at a Blimpie sandwich shop. But police say she never arrived at work.

    Her cellphone was found later that day in a dumpster nearly 3 miles away from the base. Neighbors spotted her car Sept. 23 on a dead-end road in the Ocean View section of the city. They told police the car had been there for several days. 

    On Thursday, a volunteer found a pink shoe near where Billie's car was found, The Virginia Pilot reported. According to the newspaper, a sweatshirt and phone charger also were found during the search. 

    It's not immediately clear if those items are related to her disappearance.

    On the same day as the search, the FBI released a more recent photo of Billie -- a driver's license photo that recently was taken. In the photo, Billie has dreadlocks that are dyed multiple colors at the ends.

    The agency took over the search for Billie on Monday, and offered a $10,000 reward for information that leads to her whereabouts. Two days later, Blimpie, Billie's employer, matched the offer, bringing the total reward amount to $20,000. 

    “We are very concerned about the disappearance of Ashanti Billie and we are working with the authorities to help find her and bring her home safely,” said Jeff Wallace, vice president of operations for Blimpie. “We are here to help support Ashanti’s family during this difficult time.”

    Billie's parents, Brandy and Meltony Billie, said they remain hopeful that she will be found.

    "Just help me bring my baby, Ashanti, home, please," the missing woman's mother said through tears in a video posted to Facebook. 

    Brandy and Meltony Billie live in Maryland and are both veterans.

    Ashanti Billie moved to Virginia Beach in August to attend culinary arts classes at the Art Institute of Virginia Beach. She graduated from Henry Wise High School in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, in 2016.

    Ashanti Billie is about 4 feet 10 inches tall and weighs about 135 pounds, an FBI spokesperson said. She has brown eyes and recently dyed her hair red.

    Anyone with information is asked to contact the FBI Norfolk Field Office at 757-455-0100.