Body of missing college student found near church, police investigate

Federal authorities are investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of Ashanti Billie, a 19-year-old college student who went missing from Virginia last month.

Ashanti’s body was discovered behind a church in Charlotte, North Carolina, over 300 miles from where she was last seen in Norfolk on September 18, according to an FBI spokesperson from the Norfolk office.

Ashanti, a student at the Art Institute of Virginia Beach, was last seen on her way to work at a sandwich shop on the Joint Expeditionary Base – Little Creek in the early hours of September 18. Officials said that she never arrived at work and did not attend her scheduled college classes.

Later that day, investigators found her cell phone in a Norfolk dumpster, and her car was discovered abandoned.

An extensive search for Ashanti was conducted, with her family and friends forming a search party. A landscaping worker eventually found her body near the East AME Zion Church and alerted the police.

Following the tragic discovery, Ashanti’s parents announced plans to establish The Ashanti Foundation, a scholarship fund for culinary arts students. The Art Institute of Virginia Beach expressed their deep sadness over the tragic loss in a statement.