Retired Navy vet charged in murder of Ashanti Billie

Image courtesy of WAVY

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A retired Navy veteran who did construction work at the Blimpie’s where 19-year-old Ashanti Billie worked has been charged in her murder.

In a release sent out Wednesday evening, detectives with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department’s Homicide Unit said they signed a warrant for murder against Eric Brian Brown.

Brown is currently in custody in Norfolk, where detectives say he will be served the warrant.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Virginia says Eric Brian Brown, 45, is accused of abducting Billie when she arrived for work at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story on September 18.

Nearly two weeks later, her remains were found behind a church in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Eric B. Brown was arrested in relation to the disappearance and death of Ashanti Billie (Image courtesy of FBI)

According to the court document, Brown worked as a day-laborer and had previously worked constructing the Blimpie’s deli where Billie worked. Investigators said that they believe the 21-year veteran is homeless and that he often slept in random buildings on and off naval bases.

Co-workers told investigators that Brown could be seen frequenting the area where Billie worked, day and night. Co-workers also told investigators that Brown would often be found in the area, waiting for them to show up and that he often made them feel uncomfortable with his continued sexual advances.

Eyewitnesses described several occasions in which Brown made crude sexual comments directed at Billie.

Surveillance video shows a man that investigators say matched Brown’s description getting out of Billie’s car in the early morning hours that Billie went missing and tossing something into a dumpster. This was determined to be the same dumpster where Billie’s cell phone was later found.

A former co-worker of Brown’s later told investigators that he recognized the person in the video as Brown by the way he walked and said that he believes he gave him the clothes that he was wearing in the video.

The documents show Billie’s body was found Sept. 29 in a wooded area behind a church in the 1500 block of Crawford Drive, in Charlotte, North Carolina. This is about 300 yards from where Brown lived as an adolescent.

Documents show that Brown’s DNA was found in several places on the shirt and sweatshirt on Billie’s body in Charlotte. The probability of one of the samples being anyone other than Brown was 1 in 2.7 quadrillion. The other was 1 in 720 billion.

The FBI has been seeking information about Billie’s death since September.

The 19-year-old moved to Virginia Beach in August to attend the Art Institute of Virginia Beach in Town Center — and chase her dreams of opening her own bakery.

Her parents laid the groundwork in October for a memorial scholarship in their daughter’s name. They hope to award the first scholarship in 2018.

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