WASHINGTON (WVEC) — The federal Ashanti Alert took a huge step forward on Thursday.
Sen. Mark Warner (D) said the national Ashanti Alert Act has unanimously passed the U.S. Senate.
The bill is named after Ashanti Billie, who was abducted from Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek last year. Police in Charlotte, N.C later found her murdered.
Prior to that, Billie's parents, Brandy and Meltony, worked with Virginia lawmakers to create the Critically Missing Adult Alert in Virginia.
Because Billie was 19 years old at the time of her abduction, she was too old for state police to issue an AMBER Alert and too young for them to issues a Silver Alert. The Billies thought a system similar to those could have helped save their daughter's life. The Critically Missing Adult Alert covers anyone who falls between the age groups for AMBER and Silver alerts.
"Her legacy will live on, she'll continue to help others, hopefully bring them home safely," said Brandy Billie, Ashanti's mother. "As we all know, it's too late for our daughter but just the fact that she's going to continue to help people from this point forward, it means a lot to us."
A federal version of the system would expand it across the country. If a national Ashanti Alert were issued, the Department of Justice would work with the AMBER Alert network to get the word out. The alert would be limited to areas where the person most likely could be.
“Ashanti’s tragic death should not be in vain,” said Warner. “We must give law enforcement agencies and communities across the country the tools they need to locate missing adults and save more lives.”
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