The body of a missing 19-year-old Virginia woman has been discovered, police announced over the weekend.
Authorities said a man cutting grass at East Stonewall AME Zion Church in Charlotte, N.C. came across Ashanti Billie’s remains early Friday, Sept. 29, after he noticed a strong odor coming from the back of the church. Billie was reported missing Sept. 18, after she failed to show up for work at a Blimpie sandwich shop in Norfolk, Va. and her culinary classes at the Art Institute of Virginia Beach, CNN reported.
She was last seen leaving the Joint Expeditionary military base Little Creek in her cream-colored Mini Cooper.
“It is with deep regret that I inform the community that Ashanti Billie has been located, deceased, in Charlotte, North Carolina,” said Martin Culbreth, Special Agent in Charge of the Norfolk Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
“I, along with the entire investigative team, offer our most sincere condolences to the Billie family, especially Ashanti’s parents Brandy and Tony,” Culbreth continued. “Our thoughts and prayers are with you.”
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department and Mecklenburg County Medical Examiner’s Office identified the young woman’s remains, which were found over 300 miles from where she first went missing, the news network reported. Hours after she went missing, the FBI said Billie’s cellphone was found in a trash bin off base. Her car was also found abandoned in a residential neighborhood five days later.
It’s still unclear how the young woman wound up in North Carolina. Her cause of death has not been released.
The FBI had offered a $100,000 reward to anyone with details on Billie’s whereabouts. The agency is now asking anyone with information regarding her death to come forward.
“Our community should know that our work does not end here. Now our mission is to bring justice for Ashanti, and we will be relentless in our efforts to find who did this to her,” said Culbreth.
“We will not rest until the person who robbed Ashanti of her life, her promise and her future is held fully accountable under the law.”