Detectives Search Park As FBI Joins Missing Teen Search
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Sixteen-year-old Phylicia Barnes has been missing for a week and now the FBI is involved in the desperate search to find her.
Kelly McPherson went into the apartment where the girl was last seen.
More than 100 officers combed through Leakin Park Tuesday based on a tip that they thought would lead to Phylicia. Instead, police say they’re nearing a dead end.
City police have been searching for Barnes since she disappeared from her sister’s Northwest Baltimore apartment last week. Tuesday, there was a big announcement: police were checking Leakin Park. But by the evening, it seems the tip posted on the Baltimore Sun’s website was merely a suggestion. Later, the same poster wrote that she was suggesting that address because dozens of bodies have been discovered there, not because she knew anything.
Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said over the phone that the poster should be “ashamed.”
“Every single lead that we get, whether it’s through the media or the public directly, we’re going to do everything we can to try to find Ms. Barnes,” Guglielmi said.
Family members would not go on camera but Phylicia’s father says that he personally spoke with Commissioner Fred Bealefeld and that he and his daughter Deena spent more than 18 hours with detectives going over the last few days of Phylicia’s time in Baltimore.
Police have executed seven search and seizure warrants at homes of people who interacted with the teen. That list consists of 20 people who were in and out of the sister’s apartment. Right now, they are being re-interviewed.
All along, Barnes’ family has said they think she was going to get food, when she suddenly stopped answering her cell phone.
“I feel that she is being sexually assaulted against her will. I feel that she is being physically abused. I feel that she could be a part of the human trafficking,” said Barnes’ mother, Janice Sallis.
Sallis says she just found out that Phylicia Barnes’ sister created a bad environment for Barnes at her apartment, where she was staying.
Sallis says there was not only lots of alcohol and marijuana, but also men coming in and out of the apartment.
“You allowed her to drink. And you drank vodka with her. You’re 28 and she’s 16-years-old. And then I find out that you’re allowing her to smoke marijuana,” said Sallis.
At Barnes’ high school in Monroe, N.C., counselors have been brought in. Friends have made purple ribbons in her honor.
“So we can remember and keep hope,” said one friend.
Police are talking to many people, including the sister’s boyfriend, who was one of the last to see her.
The FBI is going to help with its technology, such as checking to see if Phylicia was on Facebook at any point over the past week without posting.