Phylicia Barnes is missing. Does anyone outside of Baltimore care?
Since Barnes went missing in late December, Baltimore police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi says, more than 100 law enforcement officers have been assigned to the case. Authorities have received about 30 credible tips, none from outside of Maryland. Barnes' case has been featured on CNN and NBC, according to an Examiner report, but Guglielmi says he's still not satisfied with the national coverage.
“I feel like we missed our golden window in trying to find her,” Guglielmi says. “Not that we don't appreciate the efforts, but it would have been great if we had gotten a little more exposure when this day was a day, two days fresh."
Guglielmi wonders what makes Barnes' search different from that for Natalee Ann Holloway, whose 2005 disappearance in Aruba caused a media firestorm? And how is this case different from Caylee Anthony, the Florida girl whose “fawnlike eyes and chubby cheeks” were mentioned in an Associated Press report about her mysterious disappearance?
“She’s a perfect girl, perfect student,” says Guglielmi. “No history of drugs or alcohol abuse ... It's just extremely strange for us.”
Barnes, who is from North Carolina, was in Baltimore visiting family when she went missing on Dec. 28, authorities say. Police have set up a tip line. They monitor her cellphone, ATM activity and account on Facebook, where Barnes was previously an active user. There are no leads.
"At this point, we just haven't found anything,” Guglielmi says. “I know that we're not ruling out polygraphs. We're really at square one, to be frank."
Phylicia Barnes turns 17 today.
Happy Birthday, Phylicia. Wherever you are.