Michael Johnson, the former boyfriend of Phylicia Barnes’ half-sister, has been arrested and charged with first-degree murder.
“It’s been a long day coming. It’s a bittersweet day,” Phylicia’s father Russell Barnes told The Associated Press. “I can rest better and maybe Phylicia can rest a whole lot better.”
Phylicia, a North Carolina native, disappeared last year while visiting family in Baltimore. Her body was later found in the Susquehanna River. A medical examiner ruled the death a homicide but authorities never did release an official cause of death.
The counsel for Michael, who authorities believe was the last person to see Phylicia alive, confirmed that his client was taken into custody late last night, but did not say on what charges, according to The Baltimore Sun.
The case of Phylicia Barnes garnered national attention and had detectives working 24 hours a day to find the teenager whose disappearance was initially treated as a missing person’s case.
Phylicia’s story inspired ‘Phylicia’s Law’ which passed on April 9th of this year. ‘Phylicia’s Law’ is a bill aimed at improving the coordination between law enforcement groups and community groups when a child goes missing.
Police attained search warrants to access Michael’s Facebook, reportedly citing “child pornography” findings that connected to the Phylicia’s case.