BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A teen honor student vanished from Baltimore 23 days ago. 

Mary Bubala reports Baltimore City Police say they are satisfied Phylicia Barnes’ case is finally getting the attention it deserves from the national media. 

In their quest to find Barnes, 17, Baltimore City Police urged network and cable newscasts to put her story on days after she vanished in December.  Most did not, until police pointed out what appeared to be a bias in missing persons cases that get national exposure.

“This is Baltimore’s Natalee Holloway case,” said Anthony Guglielmi, Baltimore City Police.

Holloway is the Alabama teen whose disappearance in Aruba became a cable news sensation.

The director of public affairs for Baltimore City Police told WJZ he was upset Phylicia’s case was being ignored by the national media.

“I see what’s captivating the headlines are birds falling out of the sky in Arkansas, fish coming up dead in the harbor. There were a couple of high-profile missing people cases, and I kept saying, ‘What about Phylicia?  Where’s Phylicia?  We need help,'” said Guglielmi.

Guglielmi says he is now satisfied that Barnes’ disappearance has gotten the attention it deserves.  New leads have been generated nationwide.

Barnes — who is from North Carolina — was visiting her sister when she disappeared from an apartment behind Reisterstown Road Plaza.

Police now hope they’ll get the break they’ve been waiting for.

“If something terrible did happen, it’s very difficult for someone to act alone.  Usually they tell a family member, a girlfriend, a friend and we are asking those people to come forward. This has totally destroyed the lives of Phylicia’s mom and dad,” said Guglielmi.

Police are following up now on more than a dozen leads from out-of-state in the wake of the Phylicia Barnes case getting national exposure.

Comments (12)
  1. pebo bryson says:

    she’s black don’t you get it?

  2. Shirlee says:

    Oh STOP playing the race card–the media should have helped regardless of her color. PS Why when the ball is dropped on a white person don’t you hear them saying “she’s white..don’t you get it?” Grow up and stop playing the race game. Praying for peace for her family

    1. alicia says:

      Shirlee, why does it bother you that there are still issues of race that need to be acknowledged? Why would you rather ignore race issues exist than try and help to end them? It’s like turning a blind eye when you see someone in trouble.

  3. Kelly says:

    The fact that the race card is being pulled, yet again, is outrageous. Natalie Holloway,regardless of race, was an american citizen who disappeared on foreign soil. THAT”s why she got national coverage. How many kids to you hear about that were kidnapped from the midwest? California? Florida? YOU DON’T. I really hope that they find her and in good health. God be with her and her family.

  4. Baltimoreron says:

    Not a race card but a Baltimore stigmatizim .
    Just Baltimore being Baltimore

    1. Kelly says:

      I hope that you just have bad literary skills. STIGMATISM relates DIRECTLY to eye care….don’t try to be profound. The only other meaning is the Stigmata. Which I really hope you aren’t bringing up. I grew up in bmore and it sucks But, so does everywhere else. Let’s face it! This sucks,
      but it happens to EVERY race!

      1. alicia says:

        Kelly, an ASTIGMATISM is an eye condition – stigmatism is an optical geometry. And you know he was talking about stigmatize or stigma. Stop being such a meanie.

  5. Bernard Mc Kernan says:

    She is an American girl of 16 yrs by god. Stop this bickering about black & white. A human being was abducted, gone. her family & close friends are in anxiety over this. the police are doing what they can & I would venture to say color to them means nothing. Ita all about the child. God have mercy on her.

    1. Shakiara butler says:

      That is true

  6. Tony B says:

    No one is bickering about black or white, the facts do remain what efforts of national media attention are given in any case where color plays a role? We have a Black President, but even he is faced daily with the race card. I take my hat off to everyone involved in the efforts of a safe return for this young lady, my prayers are with the entire family, friends and everyone involved, it is sad, but it is also true, worldwide media attention will put more into rescuing a dog stuck in a pond then to locating a missing black girl.

  7. Jerry says:

    Look, the police were the ones who said this often happens with missing cases that involve black victims. Wouldn’t the police, who know more about missing person cases than anyone else, know what they are talking about? This has probably happened several times before with the Baltimore police. So why are people saying that “the race card” is being played? Whenever racism is reported, people say that “the race card” is being used. To me, saying this is a convenient way of dismissing racism. What if this is really happening in the media? Everyone should be concerned not just black people. What if this was your child, relative, or friend that was missing? And just because we have a black president, doesn’t mean that racism doesn’t exist anymore. Shouldn’t that be obvious to everyone. The fact that so many people dismissed what was said by the police, without considering the validity of the claim, shows that racism still does exist. People should seriously grow up.

  8. ruth says:

    check the satelittes overhead they will provide info on this childs abuction and check cars and trucks in area for more days after ..nasa has the answers here.. and stop bickering over minor stuff get this child back soon good luck