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Police: Body found in Susquehanna is missing NC teen Phylicia Barnes

After months of searches, authorities confirmed Thursday that a body found in a Maryland river was a North Carolina teen who went missing while visiting relatives over the Christmas holidays.

Phylicia Barnes, from the small North Carolina city of Monroe, about 25 miles southeast of Charlotte, disappeared Dec. 28 while visiting her older half-siblings in Baltimore. Her 17th birthday was Jan. 12.

Barnes’ body was one of two pulled from the Susquehanna River on Wednesday. The other body was a man, and it is not clear if there is any connection between the two.

A cause of death was not available, Maryland State Police spokesman Greg Shipley said.

Barnes’ family and friends had raised more than $35,000 in reward money to help solve the case. Her mother and stepfather declined to comment on the identification of the body.

Soon after the teen vanished, Baltimore police alerted local media saying her disappearance was unusual because she had no history of disputes with her family or trouble with the law. Police called it one of the strangest and most vexing missing persons cases they had investigated, and, despite getting help from the FBI, they had few leads.

Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi began describing it as “Baltimore’s Natalee Holloway case.” The Barnes case did not get as much attention as the disappearance of the Alabama teen in Aruba, but Barnes’ mother said in January that she did not feel slighted.

“My daughter is not the only child that’s missing. Other children need their time, too,” Janice Sallis said. “I appreciate all that has been done for her and us thus far, and it’s quality, not quantity, that’s important to me.”

Police worked to keep the search for Barnes in public, posting a smiling photo of Barnes from her Facebook page on electronic billboards along highways in the Baltimore region. The effort spurred scores of tips, but none panned out.

More than 100 police officers combed a northwest Baltimore park in the weeks after she vanished, but found no clues to her whereabouts. Earlier this month, hundreds of law enforcement officers and volunteers searched a state park south of Baltimore and leafleted the area of the city where she was last seen. That daylong effort again failed to turn up any clues and police said they were “back at square one.”


  1. Maurelle Johnson

    Wow,what is our world coming to. When are we gonna see some light at the end of tunnel. How much more grief do we have to put up with before we see some changes. Our nation needs to realize our youth is as important as our world issues. Hey, they are a part or nation, our world. Shouldn’t that matter. The youth of today need just as much attention as our world deficit. They need to understand there place and where they fit in as a kid. That don’t all come from parents, because the more hands helping with the job, the better success we will get in the end. R.I.P Phylicia, u didn’t deserve to leave us in the manner u did. To Phylicia’s family, i send my prayers to u, i send my shoulders to cry on, my ears to listen, my arms for hugs and my heart because yours is hurting. Peace n Luv to her family and friends

  2. This is an awful shame. Some one in the sister’s house knows how this young lady wound up dead and in the Susquehanna River. Me personally I would not have let my daughter come to Maryland to visit a half-sister who’s own life is questionable at best. That however does not negate the fact that this TRAGIC EVENT should have never occurred. I am willing to bet some money the half-sister and her boyfriend had something to do with this. This angers me to no end.
    My prayers, thoughts, and sympathy go out to this entire family.