By Mike Hellgren

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Day nine and there’s still no word from a 16-year-old high school student who vanished while visiting relatives in Northwest Baltimore.

The search is growing more intense.

Mike Hellgren reports in the past 24 hours, half the homicide squad, an academy class and concerned people in the community have passed out thousands of flyers. Nothing has been found, and it’s the lack of evidence that concerns police.

Honor student Phylicia Barnes vanished — it seems — without a trace.

From the air, police are looking near the Reisterstown Road Plaza Shopping Center and at the Reisterstown Square Apartments where she was last seen.

“We have a map of the apartments. We’re going to break into teams,” said Sgt. William Simmons, homicide supervisor.

Detectives and volunteers went door-to-door. Barnes disappeared Dec. 28, while staying at her half-sister’s apartment. She was visiting from North Carolina.

Investigators suspect foul play.

“There’s no smoking gun. There are people of interest, but there’s no one person that’s of more interest than the others at this point,” said Major Terry McLarney, Head of Homicide. “It would be anyone who’s close to Phylicia who had access to the apartment, and that list would run to a dozen people.”


Billboards have already gone up on the I-95 corridor , and police have set up a hotline for tips just for this case.

“Every morning I cry. Every evening I cry. I have not slept,” said Russell Barnes, Phylicia’s dad. “We know the Baltimore Police Department and everyone that is involved in the case are doing the best that they can because they assure me they will be doing their best.”

“This is unlike any other case that we’ve seen,” said Anthony Guglielmi, Baltimore City Police. “Typically with missing persons sometimes there are emotional issues, family disputes. We don’t have any of that with this case. It’s extremely unique. It’s extremely rare. We are doing everything in our power to make sure we bring Phylicia home alive.”

Police have set up a special tipline just for information on this case.  If you know anything about Barnes’ disappearance, please call 855-223-0033.

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