'Ashanti Alert' for Abducted Adults Goes Into Effect July 1 - NBC4 Washington

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'Ashanti Alert' for Abducted Adults Goes Into Effect July 1

The legislation is unofficially named after Ashanti Billie

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    'Ashanti Alert' for Abducted Adults Goes Into Effect July 1

    A ceremonial bill signing is expected to be held Friday for a new program that will create alerts for adults who are too old for Amber alerts but not old enough for Silver alerts. 

    Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed bill into law in April, but the new program goes into effect July 1.

    The bill is unofficially named after Ashanti Billie, a Prince George's County, Maryland, woman who police say was kidnapped from a naval base in Virginia and later found dead in North Carolina.

    Billie, 19, was reported missing on Sept. 18 after she failed to show up for work. Her cellphone was found in a dumpster a few hours later. Police in Virginia Beach reached out to the media the next afternoon, more than 30 hours after her cell phone was found, according to The Virginian-Pilot.

    Her body was found 11 days later and more than 300 miles away, outside a church in a residential neighborhood of Charlotte.

    Eric Brian Brown, a 45-year-old retired Navy veteran, has been charged with Billie's death.

    Brown worked as a day laborer and lived at buildings on and around the naval bases, according to an arrest affidavit. As a retired Navy petty officer, Brown had access to Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek in Virginia Beach. Prosecutors said the 21-year Navy veteran visited Billie's workplace almost daily.

    Witnesses reported Brown "attempting to flirt with Billie" on several occasions. One witness said he made a "crude sexual comment" to her.

    Billie's parents believes alerts should be in place for suspicious situations like the one their daughter was in. 

    Billie did not meet the requirements for either alert systems reserved for critically missing persons. Amber alerts are reserved for children under the age of 17 while Silver alerts are for missing seniors. 

    The bill, which is called the "Virginia Critically Missing Adult Alert Program," would apply to missing persons in between those ages, but there would be strict requirements. Investigators would have to believe the missing adult was abducted and their disappearance is a credible threat, The Virginian-Pilot reports.  

    Virginia House Del. Jerrauld "Jay" Jones of Norfolk introduced the bill.

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