A retired Navy veteran has been arrested in connection with the death of Ashanti Billie, the 19-year-old teen who was found dead in North Carolina after she last seen on a naval base in Virgina.
According to federal prosecutors, Eric Brian Brown, 45, was arrested on Wednesday (Nov. 8) on a charge of kidnapping.
Court documents say Brown is a day laborer who had worked on the construction of the Blimpie’s deli where Billie was employed. The 21-year vet is homeless and had reportedly lived at random facilities and buildings on and off naval bases. He was frequently seen visiting the Blimpie’s and according to witnesses, he attempted to flirt with Billie on several occasions before her murder.
One witness recalled crude sexual comments Brown had directed at the teen.
Surveillance video obtained by 13News taken shortly after Billie’s Mini Cooper left JEB Little Creek naval base in Virgina, shows a man exiting the vehicle then tossing something in a dumpster. It was the same dumpster from which police recovered Billie’s cell phone.
While discussing the abduction with authorities, Brown said he was on JEB Little Creek the evening Billie was murdered, and at one point, he blacked out and had no recollection of what he did several days after that.
Brown said he couldn’t remember if he did anything to the teen.
Billie’s body and clothing were processed for evidence and an unknown male’s DNA was identified. Investigators said the probability of this DNA belonging to any other person besides Brown is 1 in 2.7 quadrillion.
He is currently charged with kidnapping. If convicted, he could face up to life in prison.