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Community Search Comes Up Empty For Missing N.C. Teen

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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A massive search by hundreds of officers in Patapsco State Park fails to turn up the body of a missing teenager.

Suzanne Collins explains that despite all their efforts police aren’t any closer to finding Phylicia Barnes.

Hundreds of officers and search teams from around Maryland combed Patapsco State Park from dawn to dusk Saturday. But at the end of the day there was frustration.

ATVs were trucked in to search Patapsco State Park in Howard County starting at 9 a.m. Saturday. Trained dogs searched the woods. It was a large-scale search for missing teen Phylicia Barnes that the Baltimore police commissioner will only say was based on intelligence– the latest of many attempts to find her.

“We’ve conducted over 30 interviews,” said Commissioner Fred Bealefeld. “We’ve searched homes, vehicles and many areas of interest.”

Phylicia Barnes, who lived in North Carolina, disappeared while visiting her sister’s apartment near Reisterstown Road Plaza on Dec. 28. That’s where the 16-year-old was last seen by her sister’s ex-boyfriend.

“Certainly, there will be efforts around some of the vacant buildings that surround the park,” Bealefeld said. “We’ll be doing extensive searching in those areas.” 

The abandoned buildings near the park are scrawled with graffiti. The windows busted out.

In Baltimore, where the teen disappeared, more than 100 volunteers handed out fliers calling for information.

“She’s so young and her family needs her back,” said Corrie Wade, of Hampden. “She needs to be found. It’s heartbreaking.”

But the trail has gotten colder.  Calls to a 24-hour hotline have slowed to a trickle. Saturday’s search ended after nine hours with no results.

“Now we’re very much back at square one,” said Anthony Gugliemi, city police spokesman. “We have no solid intelligence about Phylicia’s whereabouts, but we have no doubt in our mind something terrible has happened to her.”

Interestingly though, searchers did turn up a body, but it was that of a decomposed man.  State police are handling that investigation and say it doesn’t appear to be foul play.

Police say the investigation of Phylicia Barnes’ disappearance is not closed.

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