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Navy veteran charged in connection with Ashanti Billie’s disappearance

Eric Brown, charged with kidnapping in the disappearance of Ashanti Billie. (Virginia Beach Sheriff's Office)
Eric Brown, charged with kidnapping in the disappearance of Ashanti Billie. (Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office)

VIRGINIA BEACH — A 45-year-old retired Navy veteran was arrested Wednesday in connection to the disappearance of 19-year-old Ashanti Billie, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Eric Brian Brown is accused of kidnapping Billie on Sept. 18.

Southside Daily is working to update the story. Check back for updates.

2 p.m. update: An arrest has been made in the murder of 19-year-old Ashanti Billie, according to media reports and a post on the Facebook page for the family’s spokesperson.

“Suspect in custody,” Norfolk activist Michael Muhammad wrote on the Facebook page of Kimberly Wimbish, the Billie family publicist.

Muhammad is one of several Hampton Roads residents who supported and helped the Billie family search for her. He was in the room when Billie’s mother, Brandy, found out that her daughter was dead.

Another post, this one from Wimbish, reads: “Ashanti Markaila Billie I told your parents day one we would never stop fighting.”

Billie, who is originally from Prince George’s County in Maryland, was new to the Southside. She’d recently moved to the Midtown at Town Center Apartments in Virginia Beach to attend culinary school and pursue her dreams of being a baker.

Billie was last seen entering Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story around 5 a.m. on Sept. 18. She was reporting for work at a Blimpie sub shop but never arrived.

Later on Sept. 18, Billie’s cellphone was found in a dumpster near the corner of Tallyho Terrace and Azalea Garden Road in Norfolk. Her cream-colored Mini Cooper was discovered five days later in the Ocean View area of Norfolk in the 9500 block of Lakeside Drive.

Remains were found on Sept. 29 in Charlotte, N.C. by a man cutting grass at East Stonewall AME Zion Church. The next day, the FBI confirmed they belonged to Billie.

“To the person or persons that decided they wanted to take our baby and away from everyone who loved her: you’re a coward,” Ashanti’s mother, Brandy, said.

The FBI did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Southside Daily will update this story.

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