Man Charged With First-Degree Murder in N.C. Teen Death

Phylicia Barnes went missing in December 2010 while visiting family in Baltimore, and her body was found months later. Her accused killer is her older sister’s former boyfriend.

Posted: 04/26/2012 01:21 PM EDT

A man has been arrested and charged with first-degree murder in the death of 16-year-old Phylicia Barnes.

Baltimore police say Michael Johnson, the former boyfriend of Barnes’s older sister and the last person to have seen her alive, has been taken into custody and accused of murder. 

Barnes, originally from North Carolina, vanished on December 28, 2010, while visiting her older half-siblings in Baltimore. Her body was found the following April on the Susquehanna River. Medical examiners ruled the death a homicide.

At the time, police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi described the murder as “Baltimore’s Natalee Holloway case,” comparing the death of the teen to that of the 18-year-old Alabama student who disappeared during a trip to Aruba in 2005.

Phylicia’s case led to a bill in the Maryland legislature called "Phylicia's Law," to improve coordination between law enforcement and community groups when a child disappears.


Stay tuned to for updates on this story. 



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(Photo: AP Photo/Courtesy of Baltimore Police Department)