Tragedy turns into a push to fill law enforcement gap

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The kidnapping and murder of a young woman in Virginia has shaken members of her family here in Connecticut, and prompted a push for a new nationwide law.

State Representative Pat Billie Miller of Stamford joined U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal Monday in calling on the U.S. House of Representatives to move in the next two weeks on the ‘Ashanti Alert Act.’  The bill is named for Representative Miller’s cousin, 19-year-old Ashanti Billie, who was kidnapped in Virginia, was missing for eleven days, and found murdered in Charlotte, North Carolina.  

Ashanti Billie (contributed photo)

The law would create a nationwide system, like the Amber Alert for missing children, and the Silver Alert for missing seniors, that could be used for anyone between the ages of 18 and 64. “The pain will never go away but if you could hear the joy in her father’s voice when he talks about this bill, it makes it not worth it but it gives him the strength to continue the fight,” said Rep. Pat Billie Miller (D-Stamford).

Sen. Blumenthal says, “This bill fills a gap, an egregious, unnecessary gap in law enforcement.” 

Blumenthal has joined with Republican U.S. Senator Mark Warner, of Virginia, the state where the kidnapping took place, in sponsoring this law.   Blumenthal adding,  “To have this alert go out through billboards, TV, radio, cellphones, all of the technology that is available to the Amber and Silver alert systems.”

The proposal, which has the endorsement of law enforcement, passed the Senate on a unanimous vote but it must be approved by the House of Representatives in the next two weeks or the advocates will have to start all over again next year with the new congress.

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