The case of missing high school honors student Phylicia Barnes has ended in tragedy.
ABC News reports that Phylicia’s naked body was found in Maryland’s Susquehanna River on Wednesday morning. This news comes four months after the girl was reported missing in late December. She vanished while visiting her half-sister in Baltimore. Her disappearance has been the focus of a missing person’s investigation since January.
"We’re now at stage one of a new phase of the investigation," Baltimore Police Commissioner Frederick Bealefeld told reporters on Thursday night. "There’s a mountain of investigative work that needs to be done."
Phylicia’s remains were discovered a few miles away from those of an unidentified Black man, which has only raised questions about what may have happened to the North Carolina teen. An autopsy on her body hasn’t revealed a cause of death.
"There was no indication of any overt wounds or injuries to Phylicia Barnes’ body," said Superintendent of Maryland State Police Terrence Sheriden. "Nothing was found on the bodies, attached to the bodies when we recovered them from the river."
Phylicia’s body was found by workers at the Conowingo Dam, about 35 miles outside of Baltimore, and they immediately alerted state troopers to the gruesome discovery. She was identified by dental records. Terrence said there’s almost no telling, at this point, where her body may have entered the river.
"When you look at that river, how fast it’s moving when the floodgates opened, anything could have happened," he said.
The unidentified man found near Phylicia stood 6′ 4" and weighed about 240 pounds. Authorities aren’t ruling out the possibility that his body could have been in the Susquehanna River since Phylicia’s initial disappearance.
Watch this "Good Morning America" report on the investigation.
– Sonya Eskridge