The FBI is investigating whether Phylicia Barnes, the 16-year-old who was missing for four months before her body was found, was a victim of sexual exploitation or child phonography.
Just last month, federal investigators issued search warrants requesting access to several e-mail accounts with Barnes’ name, or variations of it, operated by Yahoo! and AOL. They also recently filed warrants seeking access to the teen’s Facebook account and accounts of three other people.
They suspect that Barnes was a victim of child exploitation, but won’t reveal the cause for their suspicion.
The 16-year-old disappeared on Dec. 28, 2010, during a visit from Monroe, N.C., to Baltimore to visit her father’s family. She had recently reconnected with them on Facebook. One afternoon she texted her sister that she was going out for lunch, but she never came back.
The Baltimore police department called the search for Barnes its most extensive in years. The family offered a $25,000 reward for information helping to solve her disappearance, but to no avail—four months later, Barnes’ naked body was found floating about 40 miles northeast of Baltimore in the Susquehanna River.
The family tells the Charlotte Observer that the feds are “doing everything they can to find out who killed Phylicia and that's what we want them to do."
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(Photo: Family Photo)