OXON HILL, Md. -- Tuesday, authorities arrested 45-year-old retired Navy Veteran, Eric Brian Brown for the kidnapping and murder of 19-year-old Ashanti Billie of Upper Marlboro.
Billie had been missing since September 18th, when she was last seen entering Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek in Norfolk, VA.
Her body was found nearly two weeks later behind a church in Charlotte, NC, not far from Brown's childhood home.
In a news conference, Billie's parents addressed the media, saying that the naval base failed their daughter.
“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 Billie's mother, Brandy Billie, about how she felt when she saw Brown's mugshot.
According to court documents, Brown abducted Billie as she arrived to work at a Blimpie's sandwich shop on base.
While Billie's parents are grateful for the arrest, her mother says she’s also angry.
“This was a veteran that did this to us.", she said, "This was a child of veterans. 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's.
“How is it that you have someone who you profess now, is homeless, sleeping in the laundromat, perhaps? How is that possible? Where was the security, the roaming security? Something has to be done.”, she said.
According to court documents, Brown is a homeless day laborer who took part in the construction of the Blimpie's over the summer.
Those same documents say that witnesses told investigators that Brown would come to the sandwich shop everyday and could be heard trying to flirt with Billie.
There were also accounts that Brown had made sexually crude comments to Billie.
Brown reportedly told investigators that he’d blacked out and had no recollection of what he’d done for several days and could not remember if he’d done anything to Billie.
Billie's father, Tony Billie, said his faith is what has gotten him through, saying that the death of his daughter serves a higher purpose of putting people like Brown, away for good.
“I cry in private so that I can be strong in public, you know, because my strength is going to strengthen somebody else.”, he said.
Billie's parents are in the process of creating the Ashanti Billie foundation to offer scholarships to students pursuing the arts and to help other families of missing people.