Monday, March 28, 2011

The Missing All American Girl

By Gaetane Borders 

March 28, 2011 marks the 3-month anniversary of Phylicia Barnes’ disappearance. This straight “A” and college bound student vanished on December 28, 2010 while visiting family members in Baltimore, MD. As would be expected, her parents and siblings are devastated. Since her disappearance, Phylicia’s friends and family were forced to celebrate her 17th birthday without her. Her classmates are now planning their proms, and are preparing to graduate and go on to college. Yet, Phylicia remains missing. No, she did not run away as the police initially suspected. Anyone will tell you that Phylicia is an overachieving young woman and not a troubled teen with a history of hard partying. In fact, she’s the All American Girl Next Door…with a megawatt smile.

Recently, her classmates joined me on my blogtalk radio show to share their insight about their beloved friend. They described her as loving, friendly, and bubbly. Their pain and sadness was almost tangible, as they wept when they verbalized the possibility of never seeing her again. It was a first for me. While I often talk to the family and friends of missing children, they are usually adult. This, however, was the first time that I interviewed teenage peers. Their maturity impressed me, and it was clear that this tragedy has caused them to bond together in a magnificent way. Their show of strength and unity is observed in the fact that the entire school wears bracelets with the tag “Faith, Hope, Love” in honor of their missing classmate. They have even held numerous prayer vigils and established a reward fund for Phylicia. It is clear….they love and miss their friend.

Although Phylicia’s story received some media in the weeks following her disappearance, the coverage has come to an apparent halt. In addition, the tips coming into hotline dedicated to her are reportedly dwindling. "They've slowed down,” said Homicide Major Terry McLarney, “They are coming in at probably a fraction of what it was a month ago…” However, McLarney did say that they receive flurries of calls after news reports air. Thus, pointing out what many of us know….limited media equals limited leads. Despite this, the police have a special squad of six detectives with a sergeant working the case in hopes that discovering any leads in the case.

Police believe that a tip is more than likely the only way Phylicia will be found. It’s clear that someone knows what happened to her. You may have seen something…Heard something….Or were told something. Someone knows something. That is why I, along with her classmates, family members and loved ones plead with you to call the hotline at (855)223-0033 if you might know anything at all about Phylicia’s disappearance. It's EVERYONE'S job to save our children.

Gaetane Borders is President of Peas In Their Pods

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