VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – A large group of supporters joined the family of 19-year-old Ashanti Billie to pray for her safe return Sunday evening.
Ashanti went missing on September 18. Her Mini Cooper was found on Saturday in a Norfolk neighborhood.
She was attending college in Virginia Beach at the time of her disappearance.
“Ashanti’s a good girl. She’s one of the good ones,” said her mother, Brandy Billie, to the crowd at the Virginia Beach Town Center.
Both Brandy and Meltony Billie, Ashanti’s father, have been staying in the area since hearing about their daughter. They’re leaning on their faith to get them through these tough times. They also credit the community’s support with helping them, including services like hotel room costs, meals, and transportation.
A number of local activists and clergy members also spoke at the prayer event in solidarity with the Billies. All are calling for Ashanti’s safe return to her family and to have questions answered about her disappearance.
Her parents, who both served in the military, want answers from the command at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek.
Ashanti worked at the Blimpie’s sub shop on base and her parents say her car was seen entering then leaving the base, a short time later, on security camera footage.
“You can’t see who was in the car. You can’t see who was driving. You can’t see if someone was forcing her off,” her mother said.
Her father says local investigators and the FBI have been helping them locate Billie but they want the military to open an investigation.
“To serve in the Army for 24 years, to retire, to deploy, to fight for freedom and to turn around and know that someone has taken my daughter’s freedom, that’s a problem for me,” Meltony Billie said.
The Billies plan to meet with Congressman Scott Taylor on Monday in hopes of getting the military involved.
They plan on staying in the area until their daughter comes home.
“I’m’ not leaving Virginia without my child,” Billie said.
Anyone with information about Ashanti’s disappearance, or her Mini Cooper, is asked to call Virginia Beach Police investigators at (757) 385-5000 or your local police department.