By: Lauren Harper
Phylicia Barnes, 16, of Monroe, North Carolina has been missing since December 28, according to authorities. The teen, who was visiting with her half-sister in Baltimore, Maryland over the holiday break, was last seen when she left to go shopping around 2:30 p.m. that day. Since then, Baltimore police have been searching for her in what is now a missing person case and a possible homicide.
Along with police, an FBI unit specializing in searching for missing children has joined the case and the apartment of Barnes’ twenty-seven-year-old half sister, Deena Barnes, was recently searched. The sister informed police that there had been multiple men in and out of the apartment that day but no new information regarding her disappearance has been discovered. Police were given what they thought would be a lead Tuesday when a reader posted “Humor me. Somebody pop over to the 4000 block of Franklintown Road and look at the Southward shoulder,” as a comment on an article written about the girl, but searches of the area have proved to be unsuccessful.
According to Barnes’ mother, the girl’s half-sister told her that it would be just the two of them while Barnes was visiting, but that turned out to be untrue. “I’m a very protective mother. She assured me it would be just she and Phylicia. But when I went up there Thursday night, I found out otherwise. She gave me the names of 20 different guys who had gone in and out of the apartment,” Sallis stated. Family of Barnes’, including her father, have spent the past few days passing out fliers with pictures of the teen, and a search team including helicopters and bloodhounds have been used to search for her. Baltimore police are also taking into consideration the chance that Barnes was abducted and taken out of state by her kidnapper.
Barnes is a straight-A student and senior at Union Academy in Monroe, North Carolina. She planned to graduate early from high school and attend Towson University in Maryland. Like many teenagers, she stays in contact with friends and family a lot, so not hearing from the girl worries investigators. “We are going through the process of questioning everyone. When you look at the totality of everything — she is an avid Facebook user and hasn’t been on in five days — and then just talking to family members and things like that, [it’s] led us to believe foul play is a part,” Baltimore police Detective Donny Moses explained. Peers of Barnes recently held a prayer vigil outside of the charter school for Barnes, and counselors were also there to comfort and talk with students. Police have not received any new tips lately, but are concerned with the girl’s well-being and hoping to find some answers.