OXON HILL, Md. -- The parents of a Virginia student, kidnapped and murdered in September, is speaking out after a retired Navy veteran was arrested and charged in their daughter’s death.
Ashanti Billie’s mother, Brandy, described how she felt looking at the picture of her daughter’s alleged killer, 45-year-old Eric Brian Brown, a retired Navy Veteran.
“It was like looking at a monster... like looking at a monster, like this is the person? This is the coward that took our child’s life,” said Brandy Billie.
According to court documents, Brown is accused of abducting her on September 18 as she arrived to work at a Blimpie sandwich shop on a Norfolk naval base.
Her body was found 11 days later behind a church in Charlotte, North Carolina, not far from Brown’s childhood home.
“You took my opportunity to walk her down the aisle,” said Tony Billie, Ashanti’s father. “You took grandkids, you took a son-in-law, you took these things from me.”
Ashanti’s parents, who are both Army veterans, say they are grateful for the arrest, but her mother says she’s also angry.
“This was a veteran that did this to us. She was the child of veterans,” she said. “She’s been around the military her whole life and I feel like there’ve been failures the whole way down.”
Failures like security, her parents say, both on the naval base and at the Blimpie where Ashanti worked.
“How is it that you have someone who you profess now, is homeless and was sleeping in the laundromat perhaps. How is that possible?” asked Brandy Billie. “Where was the security? The roaming security? Something has to be done.”
According to court documents, Brown is a homeless day laborer who took part in the construction of the Blimpie over the summer.
Brown reportedly told investigators that he’d blacked out and had no recollection of what he’d done for several days and couldn’t remember if he’d done anything to Ashanti.
Her father, Tony, says his faith is what has gotten him through, saying the death of his daughter serves a higher purpose of putting people like Brown, away for good.
“I cry in private… in order to be strong in public, you know, because my strength is going to strengthen somebody else,” he said.
Brandy and Tony Billie say they are creating the Ashanti Billie foundation in their daughter’s honor to offer scholarships to students pursuing the arts and to help other families of missing people.