Family Remembers Phylicia Barnes 3 Years After Vanishing In Baltimore

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Phylicia Barnes was found dead in April.  The teen went missing in December, 2010.

Phylicia Barnes was found dead in April. The teen went missing in December, 2010.

Ileto Christie 370x278 (2) Christie Ileto
Christie Ileto joined WJZ's News Team in the fall of 2012. She was...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — It has been three years since a North Carolina honor student vanished in Baltimore. On Saturday, her family marked the anniversary of her disappearance.

Christie Ileto explains how her family continues their search for justice.

The man accused of Phylicia Barnes’ death is waiting a new trial. And that means that her family can only wait for justice to be served, and for closure.

The road to justice for the family of Phylicia Barnes is a long one–three years to the date Saturday since she disappeared.

Family and friends gather in prayer at the place the North Carolina honor student was last seen alive, her sister’s Baltimore apartment, where she was visiting.

“Had a lot going for her. Loved by her family and friends, who are still missing her tremendously,” her father, Russell Barnes, said.

In 2010, an intense police search that garnered national media attention ended four months later when Barnes’ body was found floating in the Susquehanna River.

Prosecutors say Michael Johnson, who, at the time was dating Barnes’ sister, sexually assaulted Barnes before killing and dumping her body.

Johnson was convicted of murdering Barnes in February, but a judge ordered a new trial, ruling prosecutors withheld evidence about their key witness.

“We’re going to stay focused and seek justice and make sure that this person will receive all that’s due,” said Russell Barnes.

Barnes’ family remains vigilant, even helping to make sure this doesn’t happen to another family.

“Across the country, missing persons has taken on a whole high, new level,” said Marcus Dent, Guardina Angels.

Last year, the Maryland General Assembly passed Phylicia’s Law, requiring state officials to publish a list of missing children, annual stats and a list of volunteers who can help police search for missing kids.

In the meantime, the Barnes family can only wait and hope for justice to be served.

When Johnson goes back to trial , he will face second-degree murder charges.

A new trial was set for October, but will likely happen sometime next year.

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