Homeless Navy vet charged with kidnapping woman found dead
A homeless Navy veteran was charged Wednesday with kidnapping a young woman who was found dead days after going missing from her job on a Virginia naval base, where he’d repeatedly tried to flirt with her, prosecutors said.
Eric Brian Brown, 45, was charged with kidnapping Ashanti Billie, 19, who was reported missing Sept. 18 after she failed to show up for work at a fast-food restaurant on Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek in Norfolk, Virginia. Her body was found Sept. 29 behind a church in Charlotte, North Carolina.
According to a criminal complaint, Brown worked as a day laborer and lived at buildings on and around the base. As a retired petty officer, Brown had access to the base, court documents said. Prosecutors said the 21-year Navy veteran visited the restaurant where Billie worked almost daily.
Surveillance video shows a man who resembles Brown driving Billie’s car the day she went missing, according to court documents. The man throws an item into a trash can; construction workers later found Billie’s cellphone there and turned it over to police in Norfolk.
Billie’s body was found a few hundred yards from Brown’s childhood home, documents indicate.
Brown was arrested on unrelated trespassing charges in October, prosecutors said, and investigators questioned him about Billie’s disappearance. Brown said he was on the base Sept. 17, when he blacked out and had no recollection of what he did for several days after that.
DNA recovered from Billie’s body was consistent with Brown’s DNA profile, prosecutors said.
Brown faces up to life in prison if convicted on the kidnapping charge. It could not be immediately determined if he has a lawyer.