BALTIMORE — The search continues for Phylicia Simone Barnes, a star high school student from North Carolina who went missing in Baltimore last week. The 16-year-old honor 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 straight-A, 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.
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.
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.
“You see other cases that get attention, other kids that go missing and its immediately up on television and you know, I know there’s frustration,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.
Nearly 9,000 people have joined a Facebook page called, “Pray for Phylicia Barnes.” The charter school Phylicia attends in North Carolina, Union Academy, held a vigil for the promising student.
“Just so scared, just praying that she’s going to turn up and she’ll be safe and sound,” Lindsey Helms, a student at Union Academy, said.
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.”