Senate Votes to Pass Alert System for Missing Adults

The legislation is unofficially named after Ashanti Billie

The Senate voted unanimously Thursday to create an alert system for missing adults who are too old for Amber alerts but not old enough for Silver alerts.

The Ashanti Alert Act will create a new federal system to share information about missing or endangered people who are between the ages of 18 and 64.

The program is 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.

The alert system first went into effect in Virginia in July. The federal version of the program will now go before the U.S. House.

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.

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, was later charged with her death.

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

Since it went into effect, the Virginia Critically Missing Adult Alert Program has been used in several cases across the state.

To qualify for the alert, investigators have to believe the missing adult was abducted and their disappearance is a credible threat.

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