On Phylicia Barnes

This is for Missing Person Monday...
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A recent article by excellent crime writer David Lohr features the missing person case of North Carolina teen Phylicia Barnes:


Authorities in Maryland are stepping up efforts to locate Phylicia Barnes, a 16-year-old North Carolina girl who disappeared while visiting relatives in Baltimore. But a local police official said the national media need to take note of the case. 

"We are doing everything we can," Baltimore police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi told AOL News, noting that more than 35 detectives are working on the case, as well as two teams from the FBI. 

Phylicia Barnes, a 16-year-old North Carolina girl who disappeared while visiting relatives in Baltimore, may have met with foul play, police say.

"We would really like the national outlets to help us out here, so if somebody sees her in Missouri, they are able to alert authorities quickly," Guglielmi continued.


"It has been incredibly frustrating for me. We've been pitching this since the 29th [and] have not gotten any traction. This case is no different than the Natalee Holloway case. The only difference is Phylicia is from North Carolina, she went missing in Baltimore and she is African-American."

Guglielmi added, "I just think if we could get America just to see her picture -- that is all we are asking -- maybe that will lead detectives to a break and save this young lady's life." 

Phylicia lives in Monroe, N.C., but was visiting relatives in Baltimore. She was last seen around 2:30 p.m. on Dec. 28, when she left the apartment of her 27-year-old half-sister, Deena Barnes. According to relatives, Phylicia told her sister she was going shopping. 

What happened to the teenager next remains a mystery, police said. 

"Time is working against us," Guglielmi said. "She has been missing 10 days. ... This is not a runaway. We suspect some type of foul play..."

Previously, I blogged about racial disparities in the coverage of missing persons cases in this post: Missing and Not White: Does Race Matter?

Unfortunately, I do believe race can play a role in the level of publicity of these cases, but argue that it is more complex and includes multiple factors.

With the disappearance, Phylicia's mother, Janice Sallis, said that she felt deceived after hearing that large groups of men congregated at the apartment where her daughter had been staying--but the apartment's resident, Deena Barnes, denied that accusation.

The family organized a search in Baltimore Saturday, but nothing new was reportedly discovered.

My prayers are with Phylicia--who is a track star and honor student.

16 comments:

Miss Caitlin S. said...

Hmm, I wonder where she is and I will be wishing for her safe return. Without many statistics to back it up, I do feel personally that race does play a role. It definitely seems like white children and women are given more publicity than their minority counterparts. It is really odd. I hope this girl is okay and is found safely, of course. Good thoughts, good thoughts.

Jennifer Hillier said...

I hope they find her and that she's okay. My heart goes out to her family.

Tamika: said...

Praying for Phylicia and her safe return! This breaks my heart

Tamika: said...

Praying for Phylicia and her safe return! This breaks my heart

Matthew Rush said...

What a lovely young woman. How sad.

I'm not sure whether this has anything to do with anything, but I have visited Baltimore a few times and it is one of the most dangerous cities in the country. I sure do hope she wasn't near Edmonson Avenue or West Baltimore.

Maxi said...

I am stunned that there is not national attention being brought to this case.

My heart and prayers are with Phylicia Barnes and her family.

May she return safely…

Bob G. said...

Slamdunk:
Baltimore is NOT the city it used to be...(sad to say).
Come to think of it, none of them are as safe as they once were.
And that's a shame, becasue these places are locations we once WANTED to visit.

MY prayers for the family and that authorities find here safe.

Katie Mills said...

Many many children go missing in the U.S. every week and not all of them make it onto the national news for whatever reason. I don't know if it's a racial issue or not but I certainly hope it isn't.

Lt @ squadcartheology said...

If one were on the border considering if race is a factor in media attention, list the prominent cases involving white women and girls in your head...Natalee Holloway, Jonbenet Ramsey, Chandra Levy, Caylee Anthony to name just a few. Then consider not only the prominence of their stories in the media, but the exorbitant amount of attention paid to the stories via media networks. Then try to make a similar list of missing black women and children given such media attention. We pay attention when it's a middle class white woman. We shrug our shoulders and say "how sad" and move on when it's another race.

WomanHonorThyself said...

Prayers to her loved ones ..thanks Slam for caring so much. God bless u my friend.

Momma Fargo said...

Been watching this one on the news as well. Keep us posted as you do such a great job with all missing persons posts.

Travel Nurse Extraordinaire said...

It's so sad but true. The Media doesn't post just any story about a missing person. Often those that do get in the media fit a certain type. I pray for her safe return. I will post this to facebook. I often do post these missing person monday blogs in hopes of any extra help.

Aphrodite's Mortal Friend (ME) said...

Well ... I sincerely hope that your father recovers and that your lap top returns ... glad to know you're still up and running here ... I have returned from my hiatus ... Happy New Year!

Holly said...

Every time I read a story like this, it just makes me sad. Also, sadly, I do believe race plays a role...and I will place a majority of the blame on the media (although they will deny it).

Katherine ( Katie) Corrigan said...

Sending prayers and hugs too!

J. J. in Phila said...

I am quite sorry to say that the body of Ms. Barns was found in the Susquehanna with another body. Cause of death is not yet clear.

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504083_162-20056227-504083.html

I'm quite sad to see this. Ms. Barnes had her whole life ahead of her.