Mystery Deepens Surrounding The Death Of Phylicia Barnes

PORT DEPOSIT, Md. (WJZ) –It could be weeks before we know exactly how Phylicia Barnes died. But now police say finding her body is going to drastically help their investigation.

Mike Hellgren is following the case and has new reaction from her father.

A team of detectives is working right now to piece together what happened in Barnes’ final moments alive and answer questions, including how she ended up in the Susquehanna River, was she murdered and who was the 240-pound man found floating dead in the water nearly four miles away.

“As of today we don’t have an identity on this man. Our investigators have been running fingerprints, contacting other police departments. So that is a continuing priority in this investigation is to find out who he is, why he would have ended up in the same river,” said Greg Shipley, Maryland State Police.

Barnes’ father said his daughter had never been to the area where she was found, an hour north of the Baltimore neighborhood where she disappeared while visiting her half-sister for Christmas.

“We’re still not finished. We want to find out what happened to Phylicia, how she came to this dam, who would bring her to this area that she knows nothing about,” said her father Russell Barnes.

The discovery has saddened so many who searched and prayed for her safe return.

“I was sad,” said Deborah Myers, Northwest Baltimore neighbor. “I cried for the mother. It’s really sad to hear that. I was hoping she was still alive.”

Police say they found no signs of trauma on the body, that the honor student was naked, and that it is unclear how long she had been in the cold, fast moving river.

“We’re going to continue to work as hard now as we’ve worked all those days since Dec. 28, and our goal simply is to bring closure to Phylicia Barnes’ family,” said Commissioner Fred Bealefeld.

It’s important to note that at this point police are not calling this a murder. They say they’ve already canvassed the area along the banks of the Susquehanna River, but they may have to go back as the investigation leads them.

Stay with WJZ for continued coverage of this investigation.

More from Mike Hellgren
  • Mary

    I still believe this she was taken against her will and became a victim of foul play. Someone suggested in another post that she could have fallen in with that mystery person. I don’t think so. Who in the heck would want to go to Conowingo Dam in the the Dead of Winter in the first place? She would not have gone fishing. The person responsible, pushed her and this mystery person in the water and had staged it to look like an accident. No one has claimed this unidentified man yet….probably a homeless man that became a victim of this unfortunate murder. Rest in peace Phylicia and to the other person and God Bless the families. I hope the police finds the person or people involved ASAP.

    • Leigh Ann Erdman

      It is pretentious and arrogant to assume that someone is in the know when all they are doing is making stuff up. So Mary how are you so “in the know” about this disappearance? Perhaps we should let the investigators search out the answers instead of you playing out your suppositions on a blog. “Probably a homeless man, someone pushed, staged it, she would not have gone fishing”…..not one iota of fact. As a matter of fact, LOTS of people who enjoy getting out of the stagnation of winter go to the parks to get fresh air, especially on a sunny winter day. No one claimed the man yet because, just maybe they haven’t finished going through missing person reports yet. They were found two days ago for goodness sake. .

      • No1sname

        So Leigh are you saying that while they went out there during the winter months to get fresh air, fish they must have gone skinny dipping also because they both were nude when the bodies were pulled from the water. Its a tragic loss & my prayers go out to the family1

    • R

      How do you know she died there? It seems more likely to me that she was killed elsewhere (probably in Baltmore City), then dumped in the river later. The only people that know for sure at this point are Phylicia and her killer(s).

    • SMH

      The Susquehanna runs a loooooooong way. The bodies could have entered the water in a totally diferent state and still ended up at the Conowingo Dam. Besides Mary, as a resident here, I can assure you the Dam and surrounding areas are visited year round….and noot just for fishing.

    • Elgne

      You need to join the police force. Looks like you have it all figured out.

      • mike jones

        lol elementary my dear watson

    • ratm33

      But teenagers do go to dams to party and have fun. I know because I was a teenager once. I guess you never were. People do things for a lot of different reasons. So shut up until you know what you are talking about. And if it were my daughter it would give me such relief to know her death was a accident instead of her being brutally murdered and the last minutes of her life being very horrable. Everything is possible.

      • Kay

        I have to agree, I would much more rather hear that it was accidental than it to have been a brutal murder if it were my child. My condolences to both families. At least they have some sort of closure. I’m so heartbroken over this.

      • Fyre522

        I agree that everything is possible, but it seems like a lot of people are forgetting that she was last seen alive when she was walking to a store that was not far from her half-sister’s apartment. How likely is the scenario that a 16 year old girl who is not from the area leave the apartment to go to the store just a few blocks away and end up all the way in the northern Harford/lower Cecil County area, naked in the water? It was said in the beginning of the investigation that she really didn’t know anyone up here in Maryland with exception to the family that she had here in Baltimore. Foul play seems like the most likely – and probable – cause of death. As for the manner of which she passed on, one can only hope at this point that it was swift and painless and that this unfortunate girl was not tortured and did not suffer in her last moments alive.

    • Loria

      I think the half sister’s ex-boyfriend or one of the many men that the sister let run in and out of the apartment may have taken her. The way the sister talked to the mother showed a lack of concern and ignorance. It was said on Nancy Grace that her scent stopped outside the apartment and it’s unlikely that she walked away. She could have been led to a car and then held against her will for who knows what. This man could have been held at gun point because he’s connected to killer in some way or just saw too much. You would think an over 6ft. and 240lb. man would be able to handle himself if a gun wasn’t involved. Their clothes probably had too much evidence on them or so the killer thought. It’s anyone’s guess at this point but I pray some evidence was preserved in some way. It’s just a shame that a young smart life was cut short. No one deserves to be treated that way. May God bless this family and her friends.

    • DCK

      Why would she leave the house in bedroom slippers. They say that she actually went to a party earlier and her friends could not find her when it was time to leave so the whole story sounds like a cover-up of sorts.



  • Sick of stupid

    My heart breaks for Phylicia and her family. She was such a beautiful young women with so much potential. As a mother, I can not come close to imagining the sadness that her family is feeling. I pray for you all that you find solice in the fact that Phylicia has been found and that she is being brought home to you. I pray that the police are able to bring closure to this for you and figure out this tragic mystery. I think that we all hoped she would be found alive, we all grieve with you, you are not alone.

  • yasmeen

    Intact, not “in tack”.

    • Lady Shirley

      What are you…an English teacher? It was a typo or the person did not know how to properly spell a word. Either way, we know what they meant. No one is perfect…learn to live with it. My sympathy to Phylicia’s family.

      • R

        No, no one is perfect, our writing however represents us; I appreciate correction should I make an error. Imagine if we all were to raise the communications bar; erudition improves everything. Many years ago, I lost a daughter; my sympathy to Phylicia’s family.

  • Leigh Ann Erdman

    Prayers and sincerest sympathy for both the family and friends. Also for the investigators and searchers who passionately looked and never gave up. Until they found her there was always the slightest hope she would be found alive.

  • nik

    I feel the family pain my sister went missing in 2003 and was missing for 5 years we found her remains 5years later…..REST IN PARADISE SWEETHEART.

  • babs

    My prayers to the family for the loss of such a young individual. Thoughts and prayers to the young people who she attended school with.

  • SNF

    Praying for the fam… Its so sad… This world is so cold…

  • more problems

    May god be with this girls family this is a horrible thing and I hope the persons who are responsible for this is brought to justice

  • Mary

    I want the person found who did this to her and nothing overlooked. Phylica did not deserve this nor did the unidentified male. Look what happened to Drew Peterson’s third wife. Her death was ruled an accident initially but later ruled a homicide. I do not want any mistakes to occur in this case. Leigh Ann, start showing some sympathy for the family. They deserves answers and justice needs to be carried out immediately. My deepest sympathy to both families of the victims and I pray that the police solves this crime soon.

    • Robin

      When I heard the news of the bodies found I got a chilled feeling that it was this beautiful girl. In October my daughter was coming from Randallstown High school..2 men in a green truck stopped and her to come with them ,she pulled out her phone and they sped off. I reported the incident then and I also called in a report when I heard of Phylicias’ disappearance .I was praying she would be found alive. I still have my suspicions when I think of what the individuals’intention for my daughter,(sex ring etc)came to mind…. some may say i watch too much TV.,but I was compelled to report the incident ,ju case there was a connection.I don”t think anyone else took it into consideration. I still did what I could just in case…..My prayers go out to her entire family

  • antoinette shorter

    I was praying that she was found alive but God had other plans for this beautiful angel. As a mother I know how deep my love for my children goes and because of such, I feel this loss almost personally even though I don’t know the family….so so tragic. God bless you little one……….fly Phylicia fly! Praying for strength for the family in this awful moment in life. May God bless and keep you all strong. Cling to each other because I’m sure it’s what she would have wanted. Hopefully the person(s) responsible for her death are caught real soon.

    • The ReadyWriter

      “I was praying that she was found alive but God had other plans for this beautiful angel” -> I’m so tired of everybody blaming God for such horrible tragedies. God didn’t take this girl’s life, HE allowed the devil too.If you can’t relate to that, please get your Bible and read the Book of Job. Phylicia Barnes left here at the price of the sins of her parents. Unfortunately her mother was careless by willfully allowing her daughter to visit a half-sister she barely knew. I don’t know these people but life is precious and not to be taken for granted and this is what happened, they took things for granted. Their lives as well.

      • mattie


  • Lori Rose Burnett

    God be with both families at this time and always.

  • Barbara

    I pray for her family…God Bless them….
    Just because she was found at the Conowingo Damn does not by any means say she her life was taken there. As much rain we have had this year she could have floated from some where else. I hope the family finds out what happened, and some that is responsible gets punished for this awful tragedy.

  • Ummm...

    What aboutthe other body? Why didn’t everyone freak out when that person was reported missing?

    • Kurt

      Apparently, the man that was found had suicidal tendencies. He had even written a note. He checked himself in for mental help. Someone mentioned that he was found naked too. I don’t know about that but if he was then this case is extremely strange. It’s hard to believe that there were not marks on Phylicia since she was found naked. That sounds like a sexual crime to me. People just don’t show up dead and naked.

  • Minister Candace Willett

    First let me send my deepest condolence and prayers to the Barnes family. The only people who will know the truth behind what happen to this lovely young lady is God Phylicia and whoever performed this cruel act. It saddens my heart to turn on the tv and see yet another young black female dead over senseless crime. She didn’t deserve to be found floating in nobody water she deserved to be reunited with her loving family, I’m also sad to read that people on this blog is so rude not to point fingers but if we stop killing eachother and live alittle we would be much happier, To be absent from the body mean to be PRESENT WITH GOD. FLY AWAY HUNNIE AND ENJOY YOUR MANSION. I had hope that we would find you alive Every Monday in my prayer session at church we prayed for you and your family and to get the news your family would never see you again just to say I love you, give you a hug, a kiss or see your beautiful smile does something to my spirit I will not cry or Mourn over your death but I will rejoice and have Joy that you is with your creator. MAY GOD BLESS YOUR FAMILY AND KEEP YOU AT THIS TIME OF TRAGIC. And for the Rest of Baltimore City let’s not forget who the Judge is God stop Judging one another.

    • mac

      to the fake minister candance willet. why are you so….phony with a lie that when some body die thatthey are in a mansion flying away lie of the devil! if you sunday sun god worshiping anti-christ false prophets would truly stop serving satan the devil and repent of all the adding and taking away from the almighty god true word then maybe the killings would be a whole lot less. in the book of revelation God explain clearly how satan the devil, the beasts, the anti-christ and all the false prophets will be complelely destroy at the time of the real Jesus Christ 2nd return in the flesh bringing in jehovah god new kingdom here on Earth. God never said that when a person die they will fly away to his heavenly kingdom. if that was the case. God would never have an appointed time to give a order for Jesus Christ to return to this earth to destroy all evil and he; JESUS CHRIST IS THE JUDGE OF ALL THINGS WHICH IS A FACT IN THE HOLY BIBLE CALL THE DAY OF JUDGEMENT. I CAN NOT STAND NO PASTORS THAT MISLEAD PEOPLE TO ONLY TO BE DOING THE DEVIL WORK THATS WHY THIS SITUATION AND THE CRIMES ARE TAKING PLACE BECAUSE PEOPLE LIKE YOU IS NOT TELLING THE TRUTH ABOUT THE REAL WORD OF GOD !!! THE BARNES FAMILY AND ANYONE THAT IS FACING A BAD SITUATION DON’T NEED A FALSE PROPHETS TO ADD ON TO MORE EVIL. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH !!!!!! *( READ ) REVELATION 6 CHAPTER WHITE HORSE END TIME PROPHECY AND REVELATION 3:10 AND REVELATION 16: 13-14, DANIEL 8:25, 2ND TIMOTHY 4: 3-4, 2ND THESSALONIONS 2: 10-12. NO RAPTURE FOUNDED IN THE BIBLE JOHN 17:15, 20.

  • Eileen G.

    I feel deeply saddened @ the fact Phylicia was denied of living a long fulfilled life. For her life to be cut short is tragic in itelf let alone hw it may have happened. I feel for u sweetheart as well as ur family. i hope the person(s) who did this to u rot in hell in gasoline underwear!!! n for the family of the unidentied man…may god be with u!!!

  • Pooh

    My heart goes out to both families of the victims. They found her naked, in Conowingo Damn, that’s trauma alone. The person responsible got to be evil to do such a thing to a child. I truly believe her half sister is totally irresponsible, and probably the blame for what has happened. The child was planning to come here to go to college, live with her sister. Now she has moved, I think charges should be brought against her for Neglect. Why was her Now Ex-boyfriend left alone with such a pretty girl anyway, she didn’t know him. This is so wrong, I am so sorry for her Mother. As a Mother myself, I don’t want to imagine what she is going through. I pray for you, but God will not put more on you than you can bear. This child had a purpose on this earth, look how many lives she has touched. This is so sad. God Bless.

  • Lourdes

    My sincerest sympathy to all the family and friends of this loving child of God.
    It just seems so unfair that such a bright and beautiful girl such have had to endure this. I have learned thru the years not to question God. Just believe in HIM and His glory. He has better plans for her. God bless and be with her family and send forth his comforter to them. RIP. Lourdes

  • R

    May Phylicia’s soul rest in peace, may her family find comfort, and may the POS(es) who did this be caught and rot in prison.

    • mac

      R, the law should allow the person or people that were connected to this crime to face the same type of punishment that was given to P. Barnes and the unknown young man. why should they have a right to live their life at all. no one have any type nor shown mercy for neither of the 2 dead bodies that was found in the dirty icy cold water in the heart of winter. why should any one care about what happen to the people that did this type of crimes. that’s the major problem with the legal system now. the convicts have free housing, meals, entertainment, sex in jail, medical service, per-work release program, free legal services, etc so, the message to all the want to be convicts, gang members and the like. why should they respect any bodies life when you don’t have to worry about nothing.being in the jail house is the opposite of the white house i was told by a former convict. that he would much rather be in jail because he didn’t have to be bother with paying no bills, paying no taxes, no unemployment and no child support ever had to be paid because the department of social services would hook up his babies mommy’s with a monthly check and some food stamps alone with public housing. so why in the f…..k should he care about taking a life plus 24/7 free security ! when the jail house is so much better !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So I blame the total legal system for P. Barnes death and all of the other men, women and children that are force to being attack by these terrorist every day and very little is being done to putting a stop to it all !!!! OUR TAX DOLLARS ARE BEING USED TO SUPPORT TERRORISMS WHY WHEN SOME ONE DIRECTLY TAKE ANOTHER PERSON LIFE. THE LAW SHOULD TAKE THEIR RIGHT IN LIFE TOO. THEY KILL THEY LOSS ALL HUMAN RIGHTS. DIDN’T THE DEAD LOSS THEIR RIGHT TO LIVE LIVE ? IF THIS MESS IN THE UNTIED STATE OF AMERICA DON’T SOON CHANGE THERE WILL BE MUCH CIVIL UNREST ALL OVER THIS USA !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ENOUGH IS ENOUGH !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Tired of Stupid

    If she wasn’t taken there, then where in the world is the car they voluntarily drove themselves there in?? Nobody said anything about abandoned vehicles or anything. I believe they were taken there as well. Conowingo Dam is a long, long way from Reisterstown Plaza!!

  • Cee Cee

    My deepest sympothy goes out to the family!
    But I do have one question where is the sister I didnt see her on T.V saying anything about her sister being found, So i Guess she just moved away right?

  • police31

    here we go the river must be a dumping ground if this body dose not reflect with this body! second she was killed in baltimre city and thrown over in that DAM and the body kept in tact because of the cold water! soon it would float up because of the body fluids that swell the body up the FBI FILES will play a role in this killing,! She was killied no doubt! thao other body they will find out! nwo she was missing since DEC 28th 2011 .Someone in that family she visit knows what happen to her it,s just a matter of time for investgators to locate that killer.the person that was calling and telling them that body was here and there is the one who killed her.!.

    • Teacher

      Damn man! Proofread your posts already. You can make a much better point when you type with clarity and make sense.

  • police31

    she was agood person the family will be investigaed again and the ex boy friend also ! lets look at this way she was killed and the person in that family in northwest baltimore city knows who did the maryland state police has good track record of finding there killer(s) like i said the person who called and gave numorus location and truned up not nothing, she is at rest now.

    • Zac

      you must be a great police officer if you are one. No where have they said where she was killed, if she was thrown in the river or who they have as suspects. They said they found her. Just because someone dies doesn’t mean it happened in the city. There are murders other places contary to popular belief. I hope they are able to find the people responsible. May the family find peace in this and the strength to move forward.

    • ratm33

      Shut the F*** up. They dont even know how she died yet. What if it comes back that she drownded. How will you try to say it was the ex- boyfriend now. What he went and held them both under water at the same time . Shut up till you know the facts. And if you really are a cop you should be suspended for being an A** Hole and writing these things. You are a poor excuse for a cop and you are the reason cops have bad names.

      • Teacher

        drownded? What, are you a product of the city school system? You don’t make anymore sense than the police dude that posted.

      • independent

        Yo Rat, if you’re going to use harsh language, go over to the site and straighten those people out. Almost all of them are ready to light a torch and chase down the ex-boyfriend.

  • dudette

    @ Police31, just because someone called in about different locations, doesn’t mean they are the killer. It could simply be an area of interest; notice all the areas were wooded places. Thats where theyll look first! Look at other muders where people gave guesses about where the body was and they were NOT the killer. Another innocent child’s life gone; RIP Phylicia.

  • Mary

    SMH..Thanks for letting me know. I did not know that Conowingo was a popular spot, I have driven by several times up Interstate 95. I know the Dam control floods and I do know that there is a hydroelectric plant there. With any body of water, I know people like to fish but I never thought it was popular in winter. Again, I hope the police finds the person or people responsible. I feel badly what had happened to this bright and beautiful young lady. I hope there are web cams at the dam and I hope that the person/people responsible will be caught very soon.

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