Two months after their 19-year-old daughter was abducted from a sandwich shop inside the gate of Norfolk Naval base, the parents of Ashanti Billie have more questions than answers.
Prince George’s County resident Ashanti Billie was found dead in Charlotte, N.C. after allegedly being kidnapped. (Courtesy photo)
The FBI and a task force of Navy and law enforcement officials announced last week that a retired Navy veteran was arrested for the kidnapping the Prince George’s County woman whose body was found behind a church in Charlotte, N.C. on Sept. 29.
“I don’t see a person. When I look at him I see an animal,” Brandy Billie, the victims’s mother, told reporters in Norfolk after she and her husband met with law enforcement officials after they announced the arrest of Eric Brian Brown. According to court documents, Brown was denied bail because he was considered a flight risk.
According to court documents, Brown, 45, allegedly abducted Billie on Sept. 18 when she arrived for work at a Blimpie’s restaurant on Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek in Virginia Beach, Va.
Retired Navy veteran , Eric Brown, 45, was arrested for the kidnapping of 19-yr-old Ashanti Billie. (Police Photo)
On Sept. 29, Billie’s body was found in a wooded area behind an AME church on Greir’s Grove Road in Charlotte, North Carolina, approximately 300 yards from Brown’s childhood home.
According to court documents, Brown, who spent 21 years in the Navy, worked as a day laborer and in construction. Based on the investigation to date, agents believe that Brown is homeless and lives at random facilities and buildings on and off Naval bases.
Billie’s coworkers told authorities that Brown visited the Blimpie’s almost every day, and that he was seen in the neighboring buildings that included a 24-hour laundromat directly next door.
Witnesses reported seeing Brown attempting to flirt with Billie on several occasions, and one witness recalled hearing a conversation where Brown made a crude sexual comment directly to Billie.
Meltony Billie told reporters that “there should have been red flags,” in regards to Brown’s conduct. Navy officials said that Brown had a military issued ID that allowed him on the base.
Video surveillance recorded Billie’s car enter the base at 4:58 a.m. on Sept. 18, and circle the Blimpie’s at 5 a.m. The driver of the vehicle in both videos was a person wearing dark colored clothing, consistent with the clothing Billie was reportedly wearing.
Video surveillance recorded a person in light colored clothing driving Billie’s car exiting the base at approximately 5:33 a.m. At approximately 5:44 a.m., residential video surveillance recorded a person wearing light colored clothing driving a car consistent with Billie’s stop at a construction dumpster in Norfolk. A few hours later, construction workers found Billie’s cell phone in the dumpster.
According to court documents, Billie’s car was found in Norfolk on Sept. 23. Inside of the car, agents recovered Billie’s pants, which contained dirt and debris, consistent with being removed while outside and on the ground. The undercarriage of the car also contained dirt and debris consistent with being driven off-road.
During interviews conducted on or about Sept. 30, several witnesses described seeing a car like Billie’s during the week of Sept. 18 parked at various locations in Charlotte neighborhoods near to where Billie’s body was found.
The property on which the body was found is owned by and located next to the church where Brown attended vacation Bible school as a child.
A review of security camera video from all of the gates on the base revealed no evidence of Brown’s ever leaving the base from Sept. 14 through Sept. 18. A records check of base entry logs indicate that Brown reentered Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek on the afternoon of Sept. 19.
A review of Brown’s phone’s web history indicates that when Brown first initiated web activity on Sept. 19, he made numerous searches of Norfolk news to include “police looking for man,” “Norfolk police looking for man in connection with homicide,” “amber alert sept 2017,” “missing woman and baby,” and “missing woman and man.” Additionally, Brown searched for information on Charlotte news websites on Sept. 21, which was eight days before the victim’s body was recovered by law enforcement. On Sept. 22, Brown entered searches for “JEB Little Creek Blimpies” and a search regarding parents of a missing college student.
But the police said when discussing the abduction and murder of Billie, Brown confirmed that he could not remember if he did anything to Billie.
Billie’s body and clothing were processed for evidence and on two separate articles of clothing an unknown male DNA profile was identified. The first male DNA profile was obtained from a swab of the pocket openings of Billie’s hooded sweatshirt found on her body in Charlotte. This DNA profile was compared to Brown’s. The male DNA profile from the hooded sweatshirt was consistent with the DNA profile of Brown.
The second male DNA profile was obtained from a swab of the outside, back center torso area of Billie’s shirt, also found on her body in Charlotte. The sample was consistent with the DNA profile of Brown.
Brown has been charged with kidnapping and faces a maximum penalty of life in prison if convicted. According to news reports, it is unclear if Brown has a lawyer.
Billie was a graduate of Dr. Henry Wise High School and was eulogized on Oct. 13 at the Ebenezer AME Church in Fort Washington, Md.
“It’s a blessing to see how parents are turning pain into power and are now becoming national advocates for missing children,” Rev. Grainger Browning, senior pastor of Ebenezer told the AFRO.