BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Two months ago, Baltimore Police began the most intense missing person’s search in their history. But they say they’re at square one, with no sign of missing honor student Phylicia Barnes.
Mike Hellgren has new insight from the head of homicide.
All the searches, the dozens of tips and hundreds of hours of investigation—none of it has turned up any sign of Barnes.
“I can’t tell you that we can keep this up forever. We simply can’t,” said Major Terry McLarney.
McLarney, the head of homicide division, says he’s frustrated. The department has an entire squad solely dedicated to finding Barnes. She disappeared while visiting her sister’s apartment behind Reisterstown Road Plaza and was last seen the Tuesday after Christmas.
“We’re hoping, we just keep pressing and pushing and pressing and pushing and something will pop,” McLarney said.
Tips have come in from as far away as Washington state, but they’ve all led nowhere.
The deafening silence has alarmed those who love her and those who live near the apartments where she vanished.
“I have a sister that age. That hit home, definitely. She’s 17; she’s still a baby,” said neighbor Shaniqua Moore.
Ben Thomas was so moved he came to Baltimore from North Carolina, where his daughter goes to high school with Barnes, to personally search.
“I felt people who know the situation should be out of their comfort zone so that’s why I went to Baltimore,” he said.
Police have interviewed some 20 people—the last ones to see her alive—and believe someone’s not revealing all they know.
“There’s always somebody who knows something and there are a lot of different motivations for not telling the police,” McLarney said. “The lack of anything is telling us she’s been taken far away; we always start from square one.”
They plan to conduct several new searches in March.
Investigators want anyone with information to call their 24-hour tipline at 1-855-223-0033. The reward is $35,000.