In the case of 19-year-old Ashanti Billie, who went missing on Sept. 18 after driving to her job on a Virginia naval base, police have arrested and charged a homeless naval veteran for her kidnapping and murder.
Billie was found dead in North Carolina, about 300 miles from the naval site, just 11 days after she was reported missing, reported NBC News.
Eric Brian Brown, 45, faces a murder charge from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department and a federal kidnapping charge, the police department and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia announced on Wednesday.
Brown, who is homeless, worked as a day laborer around the base, according to an arrest affidavit. Brown, who is a retired naval officer, had access to Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek in Virginia Beach. According to prosecutors, Brown visited Billie’s workplace, Blimpie Sandwich Shop, nearly every day.
"He preyed on her," Billie's father, Meltony Billie, told NBC on Thursday.
Billie’s parents, who are also veterans, thought the teen would be safe working on the base and they questioned how Brown had access to roam freely.
"If this was allowed to happen on a naval base, it can happen anywhere," Billie's mother, Brandy Billie, told NBC. "Where's the security? Something has to be done. That's not secure," she said.
"How was it that this guy was allowed to roam around base?" Meltony Billie asked.
Witnesses reported Brown "attempting to flirt with Billie" on several occasions at her workplace. One unidentified witness said he made a "crude sexual comment" to her.
Brown was arrested on an unrelated trespassing charge in October and, when officers questioned him about Billie's disappearance, he said he "blacked out" the night before she went missing and had "no recollection of what he did for several days after that," prosecutors said.
When investigators searched Brown’s cellphone, they found searches of "police looking for man" and "Norfolk police looking for man in connection to homicide."
Brown faces up to life in prison if convicted on the kidnapping charge.
(Photo from left: Courtesy of FBI, Virgina Beach Sheriff's Office)
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