12-18-12 Update: BALTIMORE —There are new developments in a case that captured the attention of the nation: the disappearance and murder of Phylicia Barnes.
Barnes was 16 when she disappeared from her sister’s apartment in Northwest Baltimore two years ago.
A nationwide search ended when her body was pulled out of the Susquehanna River.
Her sister’s ex-boyfriend Michael Johnson is charged with her murder.
The family of Phylicia Barnes is hoping a $25,000 reward will prompt someone to come forward with information about her whereabouts.
Barnes, 16, has been missing for more than a month, and some of her family members fear she is being held against her will.
The teenager from Monroe, N.C., was visiting relatives in Baltimore and was last seen around 2:30 p.m. Dec. 28, when she left the apartment of her 27-year-old half sister, Deena Barnes. According to relatives, Phylicia Barnes said she was going shopping.
The $25,000 reward being offered for information that directly results in the “safe return of Phylicia” was announced Friday, during a news conference at the missing teen’s school, Union Academy, in Monroe. According to school officials, the money is from the Phil Hargett Memorial Fund, which is designed to help students in need.
“The Phil Hargett Memorial Fund committee has met and decided that the greatest need of the students at this time is the safe return of Phylicia,” Marianne Wescoat, coordinator of development.
Wescoat said authorities will determine whether any tips qualify for the $25,000 reward. The reward will be dispersed “after proper notice from authorities and Phylicia’s safe return.”
Investigators do not think Phylicia is a runaway. They do suspect foul play but said they do not know whether she is the victim of a homicide or an abduction.
Authorities have set up a special tip line. Anyone with information on Phylicia’s disappearance should call 855-223-0033.