'Ashanti Alert' bill for kidnapped adults moves through House

'Ashanti Alert' bill for kidnapped adults moves through House

(WVEC) - A bill that would design a way to alert the public about kidnapped adults is making it's way through Virginia's General Assembly, according to WVEC.

The bill would create the "Ashanti Alert" - named after Ashanti Billie, the 19-year-old from Virginia Beach who was kidnapped from J.E.B. Little Creek last fall. Police found her body in North Carolina weeks later.

The bill is making its way through the House. It unanimously passed the Militia, Police and Public Safety committee. It will go before the Appropriations committee Thursday.

The bill would create an adult version of an Amber Alert, a system Del. Jay Jones (D) says is critically needed in the Commonwealth.

"We want to make sure that this doesn't happen to other people, so that other families don't have to experience the same pain that they did," said Jones.

"I wholeheartedly believe that had there been some type of alert, that was able to be put out for her, she may have been coming home with us with her own free will," said Ashanti's mother Brandy Billie.

Jones proposed the Virginia Critically Missing Adult Alert Program, dubbed the "Ashanti Alert."

"We've really written it so narrowly, that its focusing only on people who are abducted or people believed to be missing at the discretion of State Police," said Jones.

Through push alerts on your mobile device and billboards, the public would be notified about involuntarily missing adults that are too old for an Amber Alert, but too young for a Silver Alert.

"I'm very proud of the fact that we've got Democrats and Republicans that have signed on to the legislation, because as I have said, this is a public safety issue, this is not a partisan issue," said Jones.

This bill has a $50,000 price tag that would allow Virginia State Police to update their computer systems to support the program.

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