Calling for full funding to create national Ashanti Alert system

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WASHINGTON (CBS19 NEWS) -- Congressional appropriators are being encouraged to provide full funding for the timely implementation of the Ashanti Alert Act.

The law was inspired by the 2017 abduction and murder of Ashanti Billie, who was kidnapped in Norfolk and found dead days later in a neighboring state.

Virginia created its state-level Ashanti Alert system and then Virginia's congressional delegation pushed for a national level system, which passed Congress and was signed into law in December.

"This law was borne out of the tragic death of Ashanti Billie, a 19-year-old who was abducted in Norfolk, Virginia and whose body was discovered 11 days after she was first reported missing," wrote Senator Mark Warner and Senator Richard Blumenthal in a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee. "Because Ashanti was too old for an Amber Alert to be issued and no similar network for adults existed at the time, her parents, families and friends struggled to get word out of her disappearance in a timely fashion. Full funding and timely implementation of the Ashanti Alert ACt is necessary to ensure the safety of Americans."

The Ashanti Alert Act requires for the U.S. Department of Justice to create a national communications network to assist in regional and local search efforts for endangered missing adults between the ages of 18 and 64.

Such people are too old to be covered by Amber Alerts and too young for Silver Alerts.

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