A homeless Navy veteran was charged Wednesday with kidnapping a teen girl who was found dead in September. The body of 19-year-old Ashanti Billie was discovered days after she was reported missing from her job on a Norfolk, Virginia naval base.
Eric Brian Brown, 45, has been charged with kidnapping Billie. According to CBS News, prosecutors claim Brown attempted to flirt with the teen on the naval base. She was reported missing after she didn’t show up to her fast-food restaurant job on Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek. Days later, her remains were found behind a church in Charlotte, North Carolina.
"He preyed on her," Ashanti Billie's father, Meltony Billie, said on Thursday, according to NBC Washington.
According to a criminal complaint, Brown worked as a day laborer. As a veteran and retired officer, he had access to the base. He lived in buildings on and around it. Prosecutors claim he visited the restaurant Billie at on an almost-daily basis.
The victim’s parents are questioning why Brown was allowed on the base.
"How was it that this guy was allowed to roam around base?" Meltony Billed asked.
Billie’s body was found just a few hundred yards away from Brown’s childhood home and surveillance video shows a man resembling Brown driving Billie's car the day she went vanished, according to court documents. Prosecutors said DNA recovered from Billie's body is consistent with Brown's DNA profile.
Brown was arrested on unrelated trespassing charges in October. At that time, he questioned about Billie's disappearance. The veteran allegedly said he blacked out the day Billie went missing and has no memory of what he did for several days after that.
He told a law enforcement informant in October that he hated African-American women, stating that they are "gold diggers" who "only want guys with all the money," court documents state.
Brown faces up to life in prison if convicted. It is unclear if he has a lawyer.
"This was a veteran that did this to us. [Ashanti] was a child of veterans. She's been around the military her whole life," Brandy Billie, the victim's mother, said.