On September 18, 2017, Ashanti Billie, 19, was officially reported missing by local authorities after she was abducted from a naval base in Virginia. Even though her cell phone was found in a dumpster that very same day, the police waited 30 hours before asking the media to report on the investigation. Local law enforcement officers hesitated because, despite the circumstances surrounding Billie’s disappearance, she didn’t meet the requirements for an Amber Alert (children under the age of 17) or a Silver Alert (senior citizens). Billie’s parents, Brandy and Meltony Billie, raced to U.S. Rep. Scott Taylor’s (R-Virginia Beach) office to seek his aid in finding their missing daughter. Tragically, Ashanti Billi’s body was found 11 days later outside a church in North Carolina.
However, Ashanti Billie has not been forgotten by the people of Virginia. One year later, Billie’s parents returned to U.S. Rep. Taylor’s office to discuss an opportunity. Virginia lawmakers have since drafted the “Ashanti Alert Bill” to prevent a similar scenario from happening again. With the powerful support of various politicians, Billie’s parents, and other compassionate advocates, The Virginia Critically Missing Adult Alert Program was officially implemented in July 2018.
To protect other potential victims, U.S. Rep. Scott Taylor introduced a national version of this bill to the U.S. House of Representatives, who, on September 25, 2018, voted to create a federal Ashanti Alert law. Per the bill, the Department of Justice will work with the Amber Alert network to send out local notifications when an adult goes missing. U.S. Rep. Scott Taylor claims that funding for this alert can be provided by utilizing funds from the Judiciary budget. The next step is for the bill to be approved by the U.S. Senate and President Donald Trump.
Seek Legal Representation
While this is an incredible initiative that can protect the lives of many innocent people, not every missing person case counts as kidnapping. In the past, there have been circumstances of people escaping abusive family members and being “found” and returned by concerned law enforcement. In other cases, young lovers have fled their families only to face separation and criminal penalties.
According to Virginia law, kidnapping and abduction can be used interchangeably to indicate the same crime. Regardless of your situation, you may face very severe criminal penalties if you’re convicted. If you require legal representation, contact the Virginia Beach criminal defense lawyer at The Law Offices of Daniel J. Miller. With over 20 years of combined experience, we can help you navigate this complicated legal process and pursue a positive case outcome.
Call The Law Offices of Daniel J. Miller at (757) 517-2942 to schedule a consultation.