By Jessica Kartalija

BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Hours after learning of the arrest in Phylicia Barnes’ murder, her family is reacting.

Jessica Kartalija has more on what they are saying.

A couple of Barnes’ family members tell WJZ that they thought Johnson was involved from the very beginning and they say that his arrest, of course, is a step in the right direction.

At Baltimore City Police Headquarters, members of Phylicia Barnes’ family talked about the arrest of Michael Johnson, the last person to see her alive.

Phylicia Barnes’ cousin, Harry Watson, tells WJZ: “I suspected it from the very beginning that it was him. But just suspecting someone, that is not enough. It’s just not enough.”

Johnson, who had vacations with the Barnes family, was not involved in the search for Phylicia Barnes– something her father found odd.

“We’ve still got a long way to go,” Russell Barnes tells WJZ. “I’m not going to claim anything yet until people, or this person, is behind bars forever, or whatever may be the consequence. Maximum punishment, maximum penalty.”

Watson said Johnson’s arrest gives the family some closure.

“This is just a start. It’s not something that’s going to happen overnight. This is a start, and indictment of a person we suspected stole Phylicia’s life,” Watson said.

Now, Phylicia Barnes’ brother, Bryan Barnes, remembers her with a picture he wears around his neck.

“Without the support of volunteers and family and everyone, I don’t think this would have been possible,” Bryan Barnes said.

“It doesn’t bring her back but it’s on our road to justice,” Watson said.

Questions still remain. The family says they have no idea how Phylicia Barnes was killed. Russell Barnes said he’s not sure he wants to know just yet.

Members of Barnes’ family in Baltimore say they plan to attend Johnson’s bail hearing.


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