In the final days of 2018, President Donald Trump signed into law the Ashanti Alert Act, a nationwide alert system for vulnerable missing adults between the ages of 18-64.
Ashanti Billie, the alert’s namesake, was 19 when she was abducted in September 2017 from the Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek in Norfolk, Va. Her body was found behind a church in Charlotte, N.C., 11 days after she was reported missing.
The Ashanti Alert will help find missing adults who are too old for an Amber Alert, the nation’s child abduction system and too young for a Silver Alert, which is for missing seniors.
“The Ashanti Alert will be a beacon of hope for those that have a loved one deemed as missing under questionable circumstances,” said Brandy Billie, Ashanti’s mother. “Our dream is to bring as many as possible of those missing back home safely.”
The federal system will enable police to notify radio and TV stations, and activate road and highway electronic sign boards for critically missing adults.
Navy veteran Eric Brian Brown, 46, was arrested in 2017 for the murder of Billie. As of December, the U.S. attorney for Virginia’s eastern district said the death penalty is in play, but Brown, a schizophrenic, is not competent to stand trial.
Billie, a Prince George’s County native, was the inspiration behind Virginia’s Critically Missing Adult Alert Program, or the Ashanti Alert, established criteria for statewide officials for alerting the public on missing adults who are in imminent danger.
Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), a primary sponsor of the Ashanti Alert Act, said the young woman fell through the cracks of the system, WTOP reported.
“Despite the tragic loss of Ashanti Billie, with the love and support of Meltony and Brandy Billie, along with the Hampton Roads community, the Ashanti Alert Act is now law of the land,” Warner said. “In this new year, it is my hope that this important law enforcement tool can help save countless lives.”