CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) – Blimpie, the sub shop chain, is now offering $10,000 reward for information that will lead to finding Ashanti Billie.
On Monday, the FBI gave an update on the search and also offered a $10,000 reward for information. Total reward money for finding Ashanti is $20,000.
Blimpie is the restaurant that Ashanti works at on J.E.B. Little Creek. The FBI says she started working there when she moved to the area to attend the Art Institute last month.
Blimpie has released the following statement:
Blimpie has announced it is working with the FBI and local Virginia Beach, VA authorities in an effort to find Ashanti Billie, an employee of the sub shop, who has been missing for more than a week. Blimpie has offered to match the FBI’s $10,000 reward for information that will lead to finding Billie.
“We are very concerned about the disappearance of Ashanti Billie and we are working with the authorities to help find her and bring her home safely,” said Jeff Wallace, vice president of operations for Blimpie. “We are here to help support Ashanti’s family during this difficult time.”
Billie is an employee at Blimpie located on the Joint Expeditionary Base (J.E.B.) Little Creek, a military base in Norfolk, VA. The FBI is heading the investigation into her disappearance and announced Wednesday it is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to her whereabouts. With the contribution from Blimpie, the reward is now at $20,000.
If you have any information regarding the whereabouts of Ashanti, or any information that may be helpful in solving this case, please contact the FBI Norfolk Field Office, (757)455-0100.
On Tuesday, the FBI released video of Ashanti’s car coming, and then leaving, Gate 3 at the base on September 18 just before five in the morning. The FBI says Ashanti drove the car, but was turned around due to an accident on base. A few minutes later, the FBI says Ashanti entered the base via Gate 1. Later that day, the FBI says Ashanit’s Mini Cooper was seen leaving base, but it’s unclear who was driving.
On Saturday, her Mini Cooper was found in the 9500 block of Lakeside Drive near Ocean View in Norfolk. A woman living nearby said she read the vehicle’s description – a 2014 cream-colored Mini Cooper with Maryland Tag 2CX-0575 – and realized the vehicle had been parked outside for “at least two or three days.”
She quickly phoned police.
Investigators say Ashanti’s cell phone was also discovered, hours after she went missing, on Tallyho Terrace near Azalea Garden Road. It had been abandoned in a dumpster parked on the residential block. John Brinkman told 10 On Your Side that workers he hired at his home heard it ringing.
“So they opened the dumpster and it was a woman from the case calling and checking on the girl because she hadn’t been at work,” Brinkman said. “I guess they told her they had just found the phone and then there was another call, subsequently, from a friend of hers I believe, trying to locate her.”
The FBI has taken the lead on the investigation, but the NCIS, Virginia Beach police, and Norfolk police are all working together on the investigation. Monday morning, Billie’s parents met with Congressman Scott Taylor to enlist his help.
“We just ask if anyone saw something, say something, please,” said Brandy Billie, Ashanti’s mother.
Taylor heard about the search for Ashanti through community members, and said he’d do everything he could to help.
“I think that everybody out there that’s watching this can feel this, and the urgency,” said Taylor.
Ashanti’s parents live in Maryland and are both veterans.They say they haven’t given up hope, and are grateful for the community’s support. That being said, they have many unanswered questions.
Meltony Billie, Ashanti’s father, said he and his wife have faith that she will return home safely, “God is able, God is willing.”
The FBI says you can send tips by calling (757) 455-0100 or on Twitter: @FBINorfolk.