Family and friends searching for missing Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek employee
By JANE HARPER | The Virginian-Pilot (Tribune News Service) | Published: September 23, 2017
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — When Andrew Estrada got to work Monday at a Blimpie sub shop at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek, he was surprised to find no one there.
Ashanti Billie was scheduled to open that morning. The 19-year-old assistant manager is reliable and never late, Estrada said. She should have been there hours earlier.
“I knew something was wrong, and I called my boss,” he said.
Next, Estrada decided to try Billie.
“I had a really bad feeling when I called her phone,” he said.
His suspicion was confirmed moments later, when a strange man answered.
He told Estrada he found the phone in a dumpster in Norfolk, undamaged and fully charged. The man, who Estrada believes is a construction worker, said it seemed strange it would be thrown away when it was in good condition, so he took it in hopes that the owner would call and he could return it to them.
That was sometime after 9 a.m. Monday.
Billie also did not attend her classes that day at the Art Institute of Virginia Beach, where she studies culinary arts . She moved to Virginia Beach last month to start school there, said her mother, Brandy Billie of Maryland.
The younger Billie’s 2014 cream-colored Mini Cooper also has not been seen since early Monday.
“It’s not her nature” to not show up, her mom said. “She’s one of the good ones. I always tell her that.”
The younger Billie was last seen at her apartment building – Midtown at Town Center on Bonnie Road – at about 4 a.m. Monday, police said. She lives there with three roommates, according to her mother.
She drove up to a gate at Little Creek, where a guard checked her ID at 4:56 a.m., Brandy Billie said. She would normally get to the sub shop at about 6 or 6:30 a.m. when she was scheduled to open, her mother said.
The car was seen leaving the base about a half-hour later, but investigators could not determine who was in it, or how many people, the elder Billie said.
Since her daughter was seen at the base, Naval investigators are assisting police with the search, she said.
Virginia Beach police spokeswoman Tonya Pierce said Friday that there were no updates to report but that investigators were searching .
Brandy Billie said she last talked to her daughter Sunday evening.
“She was at the grocery store getting some things to make fish tacos,” Billie said. “It was a totally normal conversation.”
Neither Ashanti Billie’s roommates nor her boyfriend, who is in basic training at Fort Jackson , S.C., reported anything unusual about her.
“She got along with all her roommates and she has a good relationship with her boyfriend,” the mother said.
Brandy Billie, who’s in the Army, was in Arkansas for work when she learned her daughter was missing. She flew home to Maryland immediately and drove to Virginia Beach with her daughter’s father, Meltony Billie, who is also in the Army.
Since then, the two have been trying to help: answering questions from investigators, checking hospitals, sending out flyers and posting on social media in hopes of finding someone who might have seen their daughter.
She is 4 feet 11 inches tall and weighs about 130 pounds. She has brown eyes and black hair, with burgundy locks mixed in. Her Mini Cooper has a Maryland license plate of 2CX-0575.
“I just want my baby home,” Brandy Billie said. “I need my baby and I want her home safely.”
Anyone with information regarding Ashanti Billie or the Mini Cooper is asked to contact Virginia Beach police investigators at 757-385-5000 or your local police department. Those wishing to remain anonymous may call Crime Solvers at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP.
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