HARTFORD, CT — There’s an Amber Alert system for children, a Silver Alert for senior citizens over the age of 65, but there’s an “egregious gap” for missing adults ages 18 to 64.
Stamford state Rep. Pat Billie Miller has been working with her family to change that.
Ashanti Billie, Miller’s second cousin, was abducted in Virginia in 2017. She was 19 years old at the time and missing for 11 days before her body was discovered in North Carolina.
At the time of her abduction, she was too old for an Amber Alert and too young for a Silver Alert.
“We have no way of knowing for sure whether Ashanti Billie would be alive today with this kind of alert system in place,” U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal said Monday at a Legislative Office Building press conference. “But we know it can help save lives.”
Miller thanked Blumenthal for helping to spearhead legislation in Congress.
“This alert would not let her death be in vain,” Miller said.
Legislation creating an Ashanti Alert system for adults ages 18 to 64 passed unanimously in the U.S. Senate, and advocates are hoping a companion bill passing on consent the the U.S. House before a new Congress convenes.
“We know we can save lives by alerting the public about missing people,” Blumenthal said.
Miller who spoke with her cousin, Ashanti’s father, Monday morning said he wanted people to know that the reason they did this was “so that no other parent will feel the pain that we felt.”
Miller said the legislation is a “legacy” to Ashanti who was known for “helping people.”
She said if the legislation doesn’t pass Congress before the end of the year she will introduce legislation in Connecticut that mirrors the federal legislation.
Ashanti Bille, who was from Maryland, was going to culinary school in Virginia when she was abducted and that state has already passed legislation creating an alert system for missing adults.
The alert system allows law enforcement to use billboards, cellphones, TV and radio to alert the public a person is missing.
“Time is essential,” Blumenthal said.
He said the technology is now so readily available that the expense is negligible.