This is 16-year-old Phylicia Simone Barnes. Phylicia will be 17 in four days. She’s 5’8″ and weighs 120lbs. She’s a straight-A student. And no one has seen her since December 28.
And the cops in Baltimore are just now realizing that mainstream media doesn’t give missing Black girls the same attention as their Caucasian counterparts.
Authorities in Maryland are stepping up efforts to locate Phylicia Barnes, a 16-year-old North Carolina girl who disappeared while visiting relatives in Baltimore. But a local police official said the national media need to take note of the case.
“We are doing everything we can,” Baltimore police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi told AOL News, noting that more than 35 detectives are working on the case, as well as two teams from the FBI.
“We would really like the national outlets to help us out here, so if somebody sees her in Missouri, they are able to alert authorities quickly,” Guglielmi continued. “It has been incredibly frustrating for me. We’ve been pitching this since the 29th [and] have not gotten any traction. This case is no different than the Natalee Holloway case. The only difference is Phylicia is from North Carolina, she went missing in Baltimore and she is African-American.”
Guglielmi added, “I just think if we could get America just to see her picture — that is all we are asking — maybe that will lead detectives to a break and save this young lady’s life.”
Phylicia lives in Monroe, N.C., but was visiting relatives in Baltimore. She was last seen around 2:30 p.m. on Dec. 28, when she left the apartment of her 27-year-old half-sister, Deena Barnes. According to relatives, Phylicia told her sister she was going shopping.
What happened to the teenager next remains a mystery, police said.
“Time is working against us,” Guglielmi said. “She has been missing 10 days. … This is not a runaway. We suspect some type of foul play. The question is, What kind of foul play?”
Family members have described Phylicia as a straight-A student who was to graduate early from Union Academy in Monroe and planned to go to Towson University in Maryland. Her father, Russell Barnes, has said it is out of character for her to take off without notifying someone.
There has been no activity on any of Phylicia’s social-networking accounts, and police say her cell phone has been turned off since the day of her disappearance.
Authorities are looking at two possible scenarios in the case, Guglielmi said. The first is that someone in the Baltimore area did “something terrible to her.” The second is that she was abducted and taken elsewhere, he said.