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Friday
Jan072011

Search Continues for Phylicia Barnes, Missing for 11 Days After Trip to Baltimore

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(BALTIMORE) -- The search continued Friday for Phylicia Simone Barnes, a star high school student from North Carolina who went missing in Baltimore last week. The 16-year-old honors student from Monroe, N.C., was visiting her half-sister when she disappeared three days after Christmas.

Phylicia was last heard from Dec. 28 via Facebook when she posted a note saying she was at her sister's apartment with her sister's boyfriend. The 5-foot-8 inch, African-American student has been missing ever since.

"I was going to turn this city upside down to find my child, and I was going to leave no stone unturned," Russell Barnes, Phylicia's father, told ABC News.

The FBI and Baltimore police are conducting the investigation. Baltimore Metro Crime Stoppers has offered a cash reward of up to $2,000 for her discovery.

Police told ABC News Friday they obtained additional security video from the area surrounding the apartment, but it has yet to shed new light on the case. FBI helicopters have scoured the area for three days without finding any clues.

"If there's any good news, we haven't found anything yet," Baltimore police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said.

Police say several people who visited the apartment are considered persons of interest, and the two likely scenarios proposed by investigators are abduction or murder.

"At this point, you hope it's an abduction," Guglielmi said.

Janice Sallis, Phylicia's mother, said, "If she's alive, she's scared to death."

Aside from Baltimore and her hometown near Charlotte, N.C., Phylicia's disappearance has garnered little media attention, raising the issue of a double-standard because of her race.

"I can't see how this case is any different from Natalee Holloway," Guglielmi said. "Is it because she's African-American? Why?"

The dissappearance of Alabama teen Natalee Holloway while on vacation in Aruba nearly six years ago sparked a media frenzy. But news coverage has been relatively sparse in Phylicia's case.

Speaking about the lack of national media coverage, the Baltimore police spokesman said, "Birds are falling out of the sky in Arkansas and two headed calves, and this girl may lose her life."

The Baltimore mayor's office says it shares the concern about the possible existence of a double-standard in the coverage of Phylicia's disappearance but is more distressed about the case because of its heartbreaking nature.

Her father said, "Phylicia had a bright spirit and just a glow about herself. Our greatest hope is that she can walk in the door and...be reunited with her family."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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