WASHINGTON - A bill has been introduced in the House of Representatives that would create a nationwide public alert system for missing and endangered adults, similar to the AMBER Alert.
The "Ashanti Alert Act" was introduced by Rep. Scott Taylor, R-Va., on Friday in the name of Ashanti Billie. She was a 19-year-old who grew up in Prince George's County in Maryland. She was kidnapped and murdered last fall.
There was evidence that Billie had been kidnapped, but a system like an AMBER Alert or Silver Alert for adults over 60 years old does not exist to let the public know about missing and endangered adults. The bill named after Billie would create that tool.
Rep. Taylor says he believes the law will move forward in the House, given the bipartisan support. He hopes it will give Billie's family pride at knowing their loved one's death might help save other people.
"Obviously it's not gonna bring back Ashanti to do this, but this can give them a little bit of good feeling of course that her legacy lives on and can potentially save the lives of someone else," said Rep. Taylor.
Brandy Billie, Ashanti's mother, says she hopes the law will pass.
"If it's made a law, then it's great," she said. "She's living on and by helping other people, then it's helping us to heal as well. We don't want anyone else to go through what we went through and maybe this can help some families from having to experience that."
There is an identical bill in the Virginia legislature that would give state authorities the ability to issue alerts for vulnerable missing adults.