Virginia activates first “Critically Missing Adult” alert

(PHOTO: Virginia State Police)

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Virginia State Police have activated their first ever “Critically Missing Adult Alert” for a 53-year-old Charlottesville man.

The Charlottesville Police Department requested state police to activate the alert for Samuel Lee Houchens who is believed to be in danger and was last seen the evening of June 20.

Police say Houchens is a white male with brown hair and hazel eyes. He is 5’7 and weighs 160 lbs. He was last seen wearing a gray t-shirt with navy and orange University of Virginia cavalier basketball shorts and brown, deck shoes.

This is the state’s first alert for a critically missing adult since the program/new law went into effect July 1.

Criteria for the Activation of the Critically Missing Adult (CMA) Alert Plan

  • The abducted adult must be 18-years of age or older.
  • Law enforcement believes the adult was unwilling taken from their environment without permission
  • Law enforcement believes the adult is in imminent danger of serious bodily harm or death.
  • An investigation has verified the abduction or eliminated alternative explanations.
  • There is enough information available to let the public know about the abducted adults, suspect, or suspect’s vehicle.
  • The adult must be entered into the Virginia Criminal Information Network and the National Crime Information Center missing person files.
  • The Virginia “Abducted Adult Alert” Form authorized release of information must be signed.

Background on Critically Missing Adult (CMA): – Effective 7/1/2018

On September 18, 2018, Ashanti Billie drove to Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek in Norfolk, VA.  Approximately 30 minutes later her car was seen leaving and she never showed for work or to a culinary school in Virginia Beach, VA.  As the investigation continued into the disappearance into Ashanti’s disappearance, police obtained evidence which led them to believe that she had probably been abducted.
Ashanti’s body was discovered on September 29, 2017, in Charlotte, NC behind a church.  Evidence found including DNA evidence led to the arrest of Ashanti’s abductor who was charged federally with abduction and murder.

As a result of this incident, Congressman Jerrauld C. “Jay” Jones began researching into the state’s alert systems for missing and abducted adults.  At the time of Ashanti’s abduction, the state’s alert system only dealt with:

  • abducted children
  • missing seniors
  • missing law enforcement officers
On January 3, 2018, Congressman Jones introduced House Bill 260 Virginia Critically Missing Adult (CMA) Alert Program which Governor Ralph Northam signed into law on April 5, 2018.