By: Reform Sasscer staff
WASHINGTON DC – The U.S. Senate has taken another step toward creating a system to help save adult kidnapping victims.
The Ashanti Alert Act passed Congress in September, and on Thursday, it received unanimous support in the Senate.
The legislation is a step toward creating something similar to an Amber Alert for adults who may have been kidnapped.
It’s named in honor of Ashanti Billie, a Prince George’s County Public Schools former student and native who moved to Norfolk, where she was kidnapped and murdered in cold blood. The 19-year-old, who graduated from Dr. Henry A. Wise Jr. High School in Prince George’s County, had moved to the area for culinary school.
Billie was found dead near a church in Charlotte, North Carolina, around two weeks after her disappearance.
Evidence suggested she’d been kidnapped, but no mechanism existed to expedite finding her.
The Ashanti Alert Act would help install a system to help law enforcement coordinate to find people suspected of being kidnapped.
The bill needs to return to the U.S. House of Representatives before the legislation heads to President Trump’s desk to be signed into law.
Kimberly Wimbish, a spokesperson for Ashanti Billie’s family, announced in early November that U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) would officially introduce the act to the Senate.
In September, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to make the Ashanti Alert a federal law. The vote marked one year since then-U.S. Rep. Scott Taylor (R-Virginia Beach) got involved in the Ashanti Billie case and announced his plans to push for a vote to take the alert national.
The Ashanti Alert was signed into Virginia law in June in honor of Ashanti Billie, a 19-year-old who was abducted from her job at JEB Little Creek in 2017.
At the time, Billie was too old to be considered for an AMBER Alert, which is designed for abducted children, and too young for a Silver Alert, which is for senior adults.
After the House’s vote in September, Ashanti’s family says the Ashanti Alert will not only be a way to remember their daughter, but also a way to keep her greatest passion in life alive: helping others.
“It will be like a hug from her. Every alert will be a hug: ‘Hey Mom, I’m here. I’m helping people, Daddy, I’m here; I’m helping someone else.’ It was her passion,” said Brandy Billie, Ashanti’s mother.