By Mike Schuh

Concern is growing for a 16-year-old girl from North Carolina who is now missing in Baltimore.

WJZ spoke with worried family members who haven’t seen her in three days.

Mike Schuh reports there also may be a strange turn of events in the case. 

Her family describes her as an “A” student who was graduating high school early and wanted to attend Towson University. But right now they have no idea where she is.

The Barnes family in Northwest Baltimore is at a loss.  They can’t find their sister Phylicia Barnes who was visiting from North Carolina for the holidays.

“This is no runaway,” said her father Russell Barnes. “This is no child that’s having a bad day or a bad night.  We don’t feel that she’s fell in love.  That’s not her character.”

Her sister agrees.

“I think somebody might have taken her,” said Deena Barnes, her half-sister.

Deena Barnes says she left Phylicia sleeping Tuesday morning when she left from her Northwest Baltimore apartment.  Her sister’s boyfriend last saw the girl at 1p.m. Tuesday.

Phylicia’s last Facebook post at 11:30 a.m. mentioned being hungry.

The family wonders if she walked to the nearby plaza for food.

“She texted me while I was at work and asked me to come pick her up,” said Kelly Barnes, her half-sister. “I started calling her, texting her, leaving her voicemails, everything. And nothing.”

“My daughter’s friends came home,” said Russell Barnes, “and the door was unlocked and the music was loud.  That’s all they can tell me.”

WJZ has confirmed Phylicia tried to stay at a 24-hour emergency shelter on Guilford Avenue. But a staff member who answered the phone overnight told WJZ they didn’t know she was a missing child adding, “We called the police to come get her because minors aren’t allowed to stay here.”

The staff member tells WJZ a police officer picked her up, but it’s not clear where she was taken. It’s also unclear on what day Phylicia was kicked out of the shelter.

The 16-year-old girl has only visited Baltimore a handful of times to see her dad and siblings.  Her family says that when she left the house on Tuesday, she was only wearing her slippers and she left behind her money.

“We don’t want to speculate that something bad has happened, but we feel that she’s been missing and somebody has her,” said Russell Barnes. “You can’t put it into words when you’re missing your child, when you know your daughter is fragile. You know she’s fragile.”

Meanwhile, back at Phylicia’s high school in Monroe, N.C., her friends are heartbroken at the news she is missing.

“I was very surprised.  I couldn’t see her becoming missing. She’s not the kind of person to become missing,” said Jeniece Tims, friend.

“My heart just broke basically.  Very upset. So we’re all praying and we know that she’s going to come back to us,” said Sandee Thomas, after school director. 

Baltimore City Police and Maryland State Police are working this case, but they say have little to go on and need to hear from the public.

She was last seen wearing a navy blue peacoat with a hood, a turquoise thermal shirt, blue jeans, white slippers/boots and a caramel-colored purse.  She is 5’8″ and 120 pounds.

If you have any information on Phylicia Barnes, you can call the Missing Person Unit at 443-984-7385.

Comments (54)
  1. Lynn says:

    This is such a sad story. I hope I am wrong but, I have a theory that the last one to see a person alive is the one who did it, thus, the sister’s boyfriend should be pressed and pressed hard because he knows more than he saying.

    1. Bob says:

      wait, the boyfriend saw her last? Yeah, he did it. Cause I live in baltimore and I have rarely seen strangers abduct 16 year olds, they go after little girls, not ones who can fight back. But that boyfriend, they should be poking around his area to see if he’s had a history of sexual misconduct.

    2. tony smith says:

      It isn’t clear that he was the last one. The article doesn’t say when she went to the shelter and was picked up by the cop. The cop could have been the last one to see her. They really need to check that out.

    3. berlynn says:

      i agree with you, its’ something he’s not tellin.

    4. berlynn says:

      i’m sorry to say so but, your right. the boyfreind was the last person to see her alive ya’ll so what else is everybody suspose to think when he had it out with the sister and, she was puttin him out so, what i’m sayin is he was the last person to see this girl alive so, i gotta agree he need’s to be pressed a little harder because, i’m sorry but, he doe’s know more than what he’s saying.

  2. Crystal says:

    Noo, im sorry that’s not always the case im very very close to them i use to live in the same apartment building as them and know for a FACT that he would never EVER do something like that. So he has nothin i mean absolutely NOTHING to do with it because he was on his way to work.Please don’t go pointing fingers “only” god knows what’s going on! …So lets keep it in his hands!!

    1. Kewiislices says:

      You don’t knw what that man could have done. N one really knws anyone. That girl clearly wnted to leav she went to an emg shelter so something was up. She called her other sis to come get her she wanted out. Boyfriend was the last to see her he did something and that sister saying she thinks someone took her looked dwn whn she said it that shows deceit in her statement I hope investgators lok at this tape again and notice that she did drop eye contact none of them see upset or distraught and this is a baby sister they are all starnge. This girl’s picture shows so much promise from her face and these burned out looking relatives all living in that tiny place. Why hasn’t her famiy come up from NC. These people are so strange the whole thing. I pray they find her and if not I pray if anything happened God will punish the person to the full

  3. Jennifer says:

    I will certainly pray that she returns home safely.

  4. Kelsey says:

    But it was during daylight hours? And the fact that she sent her sister a text saying ‘come pick me up’ without saying where FROM, makes me assume she was in the same place her sister had left her- the apartment.
    Something fishy, thats for sure. My guess is that something happened in that very apartment. I think the boyfriend was making her feel uncomfortable, thats why she wanted to be picked up. Crystal says he’s golden, but you really never do know with some people..
    At least, thats just my theory.

    I really pray for a safe return!!! Poor sweetheart, if shes alive, I cant imagine what she might be going through.

    1. Kisha says:

      I agree with you! I’m not understanding the text received by the sister and when and where was she???

  5. Pearl says:

    We would like to hope that the immediate family has done no harm! I agree that the boyfriend should be interviewed much more. But what about the police officers, who says its not clear where she was taken. How is that possible? The police need to do a much better job.

    1. Sareyna says:

      That doesn’t make sense to me either…

    2. tony smith says:

      yes – they need to interview the cop who picked her up from the shelter. and what day did this happen. if she went to a shelter before tuesday, then the family should stop acting like she isn’t the type to runaway. if she went after tuesday, then the boyfriend is not the last one to see her. the cop would be.

      1. GG says:

        The shelter information was incorrect. It wasn’t her just to clear things up. I think it’s the boyfriend who knows more than what’s being told as well.

  6. Doug says:

    A good looking girl,as her.
    I feel this didn’t end nice.
    Probably nabbed off the street.

  7. SAW says:

    Why on earth did she try to stay at a shelter? That does not make sense. There is more than meets the eye.

    1. Phon says:

      They actually just issued an update. She was seen recently at a homeless shelter downtown. So yes people, she is alive. The person missing is the cousin of my good friend so I know this for a fact. We can’t speculate on what happen and possiblty get someone in legal trouble for something he or she didn’t even do. When she is found, she will tell her story to the family….and maybe get a book deal out of it…lol. Just everyone who really cares, keep the faith and keep praying.

      1. Romona says:

        I’m sorry, did we watch the same report? The boyfriend saw her last? She texted her sister to come GET her but never said where? Possibly because she knew her SISTER knew where she was, at home???? And who saw her last? The boyfriend? I’m sorry, if that girl ran away, it was to get away from HIM!

  8. Brandy says:

    I thought it said the police picked up…wth happened after that point?? Where did the officer take her??

    1. Shay says:

      That’s the part that is blowing me…the police don’t know where they took her?! How is this possible!

  9. Priya says:

    All the adults this little girl reached out for help failed her!
    We have to do a much better job when a young girl asks for help.
    Just doing the bare minimum ,wahsing our hands off or, not doing anything at all is not good enough.
    Go the extra mile. Ask questions. Help her get to a safe place. It takes a village to raise a child. It takes a village to keep that child safe from harm, including serious, serious harm!!

  10. Lynn says:

    So she was staying with one sister who last saw her @ 10:30am before leaving for work. She later texted another half-sister, who was already at work, and asked her to come pick her up (something apprently was wrong/going on). The boyfriend of the sister she was staying with saw her last on the same day at 1pm. I’m sorry, but, he, as well as the sister she was staying with need to be checked out further and pressed more. The fact that the family and people in their inner circle say he would NEVER do any harm is more of a reason to check him out. You can NEVER EVER say what a person will or will not do. The fact that he was on his way to work means nothing. Do you know how many crimes were committed as someone was on their way to work, church, a party, a meeting, the store, picking up their kids, etc.? Again, I pray I am wrong and this young girl turns up alive and well, but, something is defintely off here? Where is her mother or whomever she was staying within NC?

    1. Phon says:

      It’s not the sister. I’m a good friend of the family, these people don’t have that kind of bone in their body. It’s not the boyfriend. I think we are missing the point? 16 year old girl is missing, that’s all that matters right now.

      UPDATE: Last seen at a shelter on Guilford Avenue. PLEASE PASS ALONG. PLEASE CALL THE BALTIMORE CITY POLICE (NW DISTRICT) WITH ANY INFORMATION. She is 16 years old!!!

      1. Kewiislices says:

        She was not last seen at the Shelter it says Boyfriend last Saw it her

  11. NC says:

    I am one of Phylicia’s classmates in North Carolina. We are all extremely worried about her and want her home safely. We are doing everything in our power and sharing any and all news with each other. We are a small, close-knit school, and are friends with each other Phylicia is loved and missed. We are sharing all news updates with eachother via texts and facebook and had a prayer circle at school yesterday. This news report differs GREATLY from any report we have seen. Therefore, we called the Baltimore PD this morning to discuss the details of this article. They said they HAVE NOT picked up Phylicia and this news report is not accurate. If you want reliable information, do not use this news source from WJZ 13, instead please call the baltimore pd or the missing persons line.

  12. Jay Jay says:

    She was last seen with an officer I think he did it plain & simple

  13. pigeon says:

    Jay Jay, you are one sick SOB – not all people are like you, thank God.
    Let us all continue to pray for this young girl and her family.
    And yes, I believe there is MUCH MORE to this story then what is being released to or by the press.
    We need to be informed as to the police district called and where this child was taken by the officer(s) who responded to the call from the personnel at the shelter. Like I said, there is MUCH MORE then being told to us.

  14. PAM says:

    HOLD ON did we not hear about the police picked her up what up with that shouldn’t a minor that is in police custody still be at the station until an adult pick them up HELLO CHECK OUT THE DIRTY COPS QUESTION THE COOOOOOOP PLEEEEASE

  15. macnmome says:

    It is not usual for Baltimore PD to be indifferent when dealing with someone who appears to be homeless. So the fact that the officer picked her up and dropped her off somewhere and they do not remember does not surprise me. Have they verified what the shelter worker said. This is very usual situation. I pray that she returns home safely.

  16. Mary says:

    We need to start searching for her. What is wrong with this city? I am ready and I don’t care if it is a holiday, a child is missing and it could be one of ours. How many of us are ready to start searching?

  17. Lynn says:

    According to this girl’s friends and family in NC, Baltimore City Police told them that the news report on the shelter aired by WJZ 13 was inaccurate and that hey never picked her up. When you watch WJZs video again the reports validity is questionable. After all why wasn’t the shelter worker shown or their comment heard or a video or official comment aired from an official/representative of the shelter? Why didn’t WJZ conduct its broadcast in front of the Guildford shelter or a map location shown that would given the public and idea of the area where this girl was allegedly last seen in hopes of someone remembering something? Why didn’t WJZ obtain and air a direct comment from a Baltimore City Police spokesperson or investigation representative? I doubt Baltimore City Police would have refused to do so even if they said nothing more than “we refuse to confirm or comment on this case at this time”. The mayor has spoken on it. Just brings everything back to the genesis which is where she was last seen by her family (the apartment) and who last saw her (sister and boy friend). Still prayerful and hopeful that she is alive; however, this case will grow colder as each day goes by.

    1. tony smith says:

      Yes — I read another news report saying the shelter story was a false lead. The family also said that. Well, even though that provided some hope, it was just too bizarre.

  18. tony smith says:

    The shelter should have never released her to the streets. And if they did call the cops, the cops should have an incident report. This is a crazy story. I cannot understand what has happened, and it is too early to make conclusions. People are acting like they are in a CSI episode, but this is real life.

  19. Auntie says:

    Everyone stop speculating and please pray for my niece’s safety and safe return.

    thanks and God bless you all

    1. dee-dee says:

      im going to pray for her,,, god is going to work it out

  20. Will says:

    What a bizarre turn of events; unfortunately, in most cases where a child is involved the most likely suspects are the family and close friends.
    I pray for this young lady’s safe return and hope they find her soon.

  21. rachel says:

    this is every parents nightmare. we are praying here in Monroe. I wish we knew more of what the police ARE doing– seems like we aren’t hearing much on that… bloodhounds? security cameras around the apts? cell phone gps?

  22. Rachel says:

    I’m sorry to say that the boyfriends story doesn’t add up. We said that the minute the story aired. If you live in this area there are SO many teenage girls walking! Standing at the bus stop, ect. In this area. It was freezing last Tuesday. really an upductorr happened upon this young lady as she wales a short distance to the plaza. Who discovered loud music? What time did she call Kelly and Kelly return her call? Before 1 pm? Police say no foul play? Why are they not treating this as an abduction? But use dogs to trace scent? Was that true? Seems like they are focused on someone already, hence news coverage didn’t start the day she went missing and was initiated by family. Police have used local news in past for missing persons and do that immediately.

  23. Ms Belle says:

    This morning January 3, 2011 at 600am on wjz news htey reported that the young lady at the shelter was not that of Phylicia Barnres but a mistaken identity. Please have facts before posting infomation. Putting out the wrong info is not helping the case. Try to get the facts so that we can bring this young lady home to her family. I will agree on lookingh into the person who last saw her. Sometimes it is the ones close to home. Sad to say

  24. dee-dee says:

    They said that she left out with only her cell phone but in her discription it says that she had a purse, and she cant get food without money : they said she left her money home so i think that should be eliminated ….im going to keep praying for her and were every she is god has her and it will work out according to his plan ,, jus pray that everything is ok.

  25. nik says:

    this story sounds so fishey….but im not here to judge anyone so all im going do is pray for a safe return to her family…god bless this child

  26. Free2speak2 says:

    I hope & pray that she will return alive.

  27. meloyello says:

    I say “light a flame under the boyfriend’s feet!’ Make him take a lie detector test…

  28. tonia smith says:

    may god give the family the stenght to go threw want they r going threw im praying for u all and phylicia safe return god blessing r the greatest

  29. LOVE YOU says:


  30. Mis B says:

    Why was she at a shelter in the first place i thought she was here visiting family so why go to a shelter to stay – When the responsible adult called the police to pick her up becasue she was under age did they file a report that they were doing that-And where did he take her

  31. TRJ says:

    Auntie, the last thing you should be doing is making a comment on this website, shouldn’t you be in an emotional wreck? My teenage nephew stayed out all night last year, and i could barely talk let alone type. keep focus and dont feed into the media BS

  32. A Concerned Male with 4 Girls says:

    I love Baltimore, any male here gets the first blame for anything, the police and shelter story could’ve been true or false. Any one knows MD knows when things go awry theres a cover up, btw where is this mistaken id women. The boyfriend could’ve text or people visiting the apartment. The person who say leakin park been telling the truth the person with license plate 51621M1 could been telling the truth , the dumpster in the plaza, people in the apartment, those commenting.. We don’t know all we can do is pray because could’ve, would’ve should’ve is not going to bring her home. Look I’m willing to search myself and help but all I can do now is pray her safe return. We all need to keep praying harder then ourselves.

  33. Lauren Keller says:

    I believe that the sister knows waaaaay more than she’s saying. She looked down while talking to the reporter, and she looks very suspicious. She better hope and pray that Phyllicia is o.k. because her judgment day will SURELY come! She looks ghetto, uneducated, and is showing no signs of sadness or remorse for the loss of her sister. She should be ASHAMED of her stupid self! God have mercy on her soul! She was RESPONSIBLE for Phyllicia, and she should be held accountable for her disappearance. Why in the hell would you have that many men coming in an out of your house like that?! What kind of example are you setting for your young sister?! She knows something! AND if I were Phyllicia’s mom I would ride her butt until I got some answers! She was probably jealous of Phyllicia! Silly tail!!! I wouldn’t put it past her at all! AND EVEN IF I am wrong about her knowing more than she does – it still doesn’t matter!!!!!! She was still responsible for Phyllicia! Period!

  34. phylicia brown says:

    omg!!! she is so pretty and i hope ya find her where ever she at i know she want 2 be home plz find her

    1. phylicia brown says:

      i kno she looked realy suspicious like she killed her or she know where she at one of the sistas friend probably have her and got her phone off

  35. PEACE & BLESSINGS says:

    i know she has turned up dead at this point, but there are three people to look at and that is the police officer that pick her up from the shelter and hat he did with her and to her and them there is her sister and the sister boyfriend. i just can’t get over that she turned up dead in a river and it is not my child but whoever did this would not get away with it.

    Peace and Blessings.

  36. Christy Burton Hudson says:

    No police officer ever picked her up….Her sister had NOTHING to do with it…..The EX boyfriend of her sister was the last known person to see her alive….

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