Police 'enormously concerned' about missing teen girl

16-year-old honors student has not been heard from since Dec. 28

  • Phylicia Simone Barnes hasn't been heard from since Tuesday.
Phylicia Simone Barnes hasn't been heard from since Tuesday. (Courtesy of Baltimore Police…)
January 03, 2011|By Justin Fenton, The Baltimore Sun

City police said they suspect foul play in the disappearance of a 16-year-old North Carolina teen and are investigating whether she was abducted from Baltimore last week.

Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III said police are "enormously concerned" that Phylicia Barnes has not been heard from since last Tuesday. Barnes, an honors student who was visiting an older sister, missed a plane back home and has not updated her Facebook page.

"We have serious concerns about this case," Bealefeld said.

Her father, Russell Barnes, traveled from Atlanta last week as friends and family scoured the city for Phylicia. From Randallstown to East Baltimore, they've passed out hundreds of fliers. Police have assisted with bloodhounds and helicopter patrols. New Year's Eve came and went, all with no word from the girl.

"I have a strong faith that we will find her, and we will find her well," Barnes said. "That's the only way you can be."

Phylicia Barnes is from Monroe, N.C., about 25 miles southeast of Charlotte. She has no history of criminal activity, emotional distress or running away, police said.

Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said detectives are investigating whether Phylicia may have been abducted, and if so, that her kidnappers might have taken her out of state. Homicide detectives, who investigate abduction cases, have been assigned to the case.

The teen was last seen at an apartment in the 6500 block of Eberle Drive, near the Reisterstown Road metro station and shopping center. On Monday night, police were obtaining search warrants for the apartment to check again for evidence.

Barnes said he grew up in Baltimore, and his 27-year-old daughter lives in Northwest Baltimore. Phylicia, a stand-out student who enjoyed theater, was on track to graduate early from high school. She hoped to live with her older sister in Baltimore and attend Towson University.

When Phylicia left the apartment at 1:30 p.m. on Dec. 28, police believe, she might have been going to get something to eat. She left with her cell phone and wallet but no other items. Barnes said she was wearing slipper-boots.

"She didn't know anybody in Baltimore but her sister — she didn't know anything about going anywhere," Barnes said.

At her charter school in North Carolina, classmates have held vigils for Phylicia, including one Monday morning, according to media there.

"I'm really sad because she's like a part of the family," student Derral Tims told WSOC, a North Carolina TV station.

"[I'm] just so scared," student Lindsey Helms said. "[I'm] just praying she's going to turn up, and she'll be safe and sound."

More than 1,650 have joined a Facebook page called "Pray for Phylicia Barnes."

"It just seems like she vanished out of nowhere," Barnes said.

justin.fenton@baltsun.com

twitter.com/justin_fenton

The Associated Press contributed to this article.



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