Ashanti Billie’s body found in Charlotte

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WAVY) – The FBI announced that the body found behind a church in Charlotte Friday morning has been identified as 19-year-old Ashanti Billie. Ashanti has been missing since September 18, when she never showed up for work on Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story.

Video released by the FBI this week showed Billie drive onto the base through Gate 3 early that morning, on her way to the Blimpe’s where she worked. She had to turn around because of an accident and drove off base, then re-entered through Gate 1. The video shows her cream Mini Cooper later exit the base through Gate 1, but the FBI said they could not tell who was driving. Her cell phone was located in a dumpster in Norfolk on the 18th, a couple miles away from the base, and her vehicle was recovered five days later in Ocean View.

Related Coverage: Ashanti Billie Missing Investigation

Ashanti’s parents held a news conference Saturday evening and thanked everyone who has helped them as they searched for Ashanti for the past two weeks.

“We were notified yesterday that a body had been found in Charlotte and we were finally notified today that it was identified as Ashanti Billie, our daughter,” said her mother, Brandy Billie. She added, “To the person who decided that they wanted to take our baby away from us, away from everyone who loved her, you are a coward. You don’t deserve to breathe the air she breathed.”

Billie’s father says even though it’s not the outcome they wanted, their prayers have been answered because their daughter is now with God.

He also used this as an opportunity to highlight others who are also missing by asking the community and country to focus on these important issues.

“The National Anthem is one minute and 23 seconds. That’s probably how long it took to snatch my daughter up. Let’s do better than what we’re doing. We’re worry about stuff like that. I say to you, Mr. President, finding young folks, missing folks is more important than the anthem. I’m a veteran and I’ve earned the right to voice this,” said Meltony Billie.

Martin Culbreth, Special Agent in Charge of the Norfolk Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation released this statement Saturday afternoon:

It is with deep regret that I inform the community that Ashanti Billie has been located, deceased, in Charlotte, North Carolina. I, along with the entire investigative team, offer our most sincere condolences to the Billie family, especially Ashanti’s parents Brandy and Tony. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Thank you to the investigative team which includes the FBI, NCIS, Virginia Beach Police Department, and Norfolk Police Department for your tireless devotion to finding Ashanti. Your commitment to this effort demonstrates the true heart of law enforcement and I am proud of each and every one of you.

Our community should know that our work does not end here. Now our mission is to bring justice for Ashanti, and we will be relentless in our efforts to find who did this to her. We will not rest until the person who robbed Ashanti of her life, her promise and her future is held fully accountable under the law.

We are continuing to ask for the public’s assistance with the ongoing investigation. Anyone who may have information should contact the FBI Norfolk Field Office at (757)455-0100.”

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department released additional information Saturday afternoon. They said officers were called to the 1700 block of Griers Grove Road at 10:34 a.m. on Friday, in reference to a death investigation. The caller said they found a body in the back of a church at that location.

Representatives of the Mecklenburg County District Attorney’s Homicide Prosecution Team, Real Time Crime, Special Investigations, and Operations Command all responded to the scene.

On Saturday, detectives with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department’s Homicide/ADW Unit received confirmation from the Mecklenburg County Medical Examiner’s Office that the woman’s body was positively identified as Ashanti Billie.

FBI Norfolk, Norfolk PD, Virginia Beach PD, NCIS, and FBI Charlotte collaborated with CMPD in this investigation.

Stay on WAVY.com for developments in this story.