RICHMOND, Va. (WVEC) -- Governor Northam approved a bill that would create a program to send out a notification of missing adults across the Commonwealth, and will make it officials at a bill-signing ceremony.
The "Critically missing adult alert" or "Ashanti Alert" is a notice for critically missing adults too old for an AMBER Alert, and too young for a Silver Alert.
The bill was unanimously passed by the Virginia Senate and House. Northam approved the bill, and he has until midnight on April 9 to sign it.
It's inspired by Ashanti Billie, a 19-year-old who was abducted from Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek, (Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story) and found murdered in Charlotte, North Carolina last year.
An "Ashanti Alert" would allow a local, regional, or statewide notification of a critically missing adult. The bill defines this as an "adult whose whereabouts are unknown, who is believed to have been abducted, and whose disappearance poses a credible threat" to his or her health and safety.
The Virginia State Police will develop the policies and standards for the alert.
Once the bill is signed, it will go into effect on July 1 of this year.
Republican Congressman Scott Taylor, from Virginia Beach, has drafted an "Ashanti Alert" proposal in Congress.
The bill will create a national communications network within the Department of Justice to initiate and facilitate alerts for missing adults. The law enforcement agency investigating the case ultimately would decide whether to send an alert.
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