CHARLOTTE, NC (Joe Marusak and Lavendrick Smith/The Charlotte Observer) - Police believe a body found behind a church in north Charlotte on Friday is that of a missing 19-year-old from Virginia Beach, Va.
The body was behind East Stonewall AME Zion Church on Griers Grove Road, police said.
It was discovered by a member of a landscaping crew around 9:30 Friday morning while mowing the lawn, Rev. Michael McLean said.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police had not identified the victim by 6 p.m. Friday, but a person familiar with the investigation into the disappearance of Ashanti Billie told The Virginian-Pilot the body is that of the Virginia Beach teen missing for 12 days.
Billie was last seen around 4 a.m. Sept. 18 at her apartment complex. The same day she went missing, her phone was found in a Dumpster fully charged and undamaged, according to The Virginian-Pilot.
Billie's mother said her daughter drove up to a gate at a military base where a guard checked her ID at 4:46 a.m., The Virginian-Pilot reported. She was supposed to work at the Blimpie on base that morning. Her car was seen leaving the base about half an hour later, but it's not known who was driving or how many people were in the car, her mother has said, according to the newspaper.
Billie's 2014 cream-colored Mini Cooper was found Saturday in Norfolk, Va., the newspaper reported.
More than 75 people showed up Thursday night where Billie's cellphone was found to search for her. Her parents were at a Virginia Beach hotel late Friday afternoon where they were expected to release a statement.
A spokeswoman for Billie's family told Norfolk ABC-TV affiliate WVEC they were aware of the situation in Charlotte and asked that everyone pray that the woman found dead was not Billie.
FBI Norfolk is aware of the human remains found in Charlotte, "but there has been no positive identification at this time," a spokeswoman told the station. "We are looking into it but can't confirm anything."