Navy veteran charged in Ashanti Billie death

Federal officials said Wednesday that a Navy veteran has been charged with kidnapping in connection with the death of Ashanti Billie, whose body was found behind a North Carolina church in September.

The Virginian-Pilot reported that the suspect, 45-year-old Eric Brian Brown, was already in custody on unrelated charges, including solicitation of prostitution and trespassing.


Billie, 19, disappeared on Sept. 18 while she was en route to work at a sandwich shop on Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story in Norfolk, Va. Surveillance video showed Billie driving her car onto the base that morning. Video from a separate gate appeared to show a different person driving the car off the base.


Eric Brown, 45, is charged with kidnapping in connection with Billie's death.  (Virginia Beach Sheriff's Office)

Billie's cellphone was found in a dumpster hours after she disappeared and her car was found in a nearby street five days later. Multiple news outlets, citing court documents, reported that Billie's pants were found in her car with dirt on them.

Her body was found on Sept. 29 behind the East Stonewall AME Zion Church in Charlotte. Investigators say the church is located only a few hundred yards from Brown's childhood home.

Investigators have not revealed the exact cause of Billie's death.

In a statement, Billie's family thanked "the FBI, Virginia Beach and Norfolk Police Departments and NCIS for their attention and investigations regarding their daughter." The statement closed with the social media hashtag, "justiceforashanti".