The body of the 19-year-old found dead Friday morning was discovered behind a church when a groundskeeper smelled a strange odor and stumbled across her remains.
Authorities say a man cutting grass early Friday morning at East Stonewall AME Zion Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, smelled something strange, which turned out to be 19-year-old Ashanti Billie’s body.
Billie was reported missing two weeks ago when she didn’t show up to the sandwich shop where she worked in Norfolk, Virginia.
Police haven’t released a cause of death, but the FBI believes she may have been murdered, and have launched a manhunt to track down her killer, according to NBC.
It remains unclear if authorities are pursuing a specific suspect.
Billie, a culinary arts student who had recently graduated from high school, was last seen at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek on September 18.
She was thought to be arriving at work at the Blimpie sandwich shop where she was employed as an assistant manager.
Her car was then spotted by neighbor’s on September 23 abandoned on a dead-end street in the Ocean View part of Norfolk.
‘It is with deep regret that I inform the community that Ashanti Billie has been located, deceased, in Charlotte, North Carolina,’ FBI special agent Martin Culbreth said in a statement.
Details on how Billie died have yet to be released by authorities.
‘Our mission is to bring justice for Ashanti, and we will be relentless in our efforts to find who did this to her,’ Culbreth said in his statement.
‘We will not rest until the person who robbed Ashanti of her life, her promise and her future is held fully accountable under the law.’
The Mecklenburg County Medical Examiner’s Office identified Billie’s body following a massive search conducted by the FBI, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, the Virginia Beach Police Department and the Norfolk Police Department.
Following her disappearance, a $10,000 reward was offered to anyone with information that could help authorities lead to Billie’s whereabouts.
Billie’s employer, Blimpie, matched the offer, raising the total to $20,000.
‘We are very concerned about the disappearance of Ashanti Billie and we are working with the authorities to help find her and bring her home safely,’ said Jeff Wallace, vice president of operations for Blimpie.
‘We are here to help support Ashanti’s family during this difficult time.’
Billie recently moved to Virginia to attend culinary arts classes at the Art Institute of Virginia Beach, NBC News reported, following her graduation from Henry Wise High School in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, in 2016.
Anyone with information for the FBI is asked to contact the FBI Norfolk Field Office at 757-455-0100.