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Phylicia Barnes Update: Michael Johnson arrested for the murder of the NC teen, police say

Chief Medical Examiner David Fowler says that Barnes was the only missing person in the area who matched the age and gender of the body that was found. He says her dental records were the only set police submitted for comparison and were used to make the identification. Personal Photo

Phylicia Barnes
Personal Photo

(CBS/AP) BALTIMORE - Baltimore police said they have arrested a man in the death of North Carolina teenager Phylicia Barnes, whose body was found in a river after she vanished in 2010 while visiting relatives in the area.

Pictures: Phylicia Barnes

Michael Johnson has been arrested in the teen's death, police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi told The Associated Press early Thursday. 

Authorities have said Johnson was the former boyfriend of Barnes' older sister and the last person to see her alive. Guglielmi said prosecutors would release more information later Thursday on the arrest.

Barnes, 16, disappeared Dec. 28, 2010 while visiting her sister in northwest Baltimore.

Workers at the Conowingo Dam on the Susquehanna River found her body the following April in northeast Maryland. Medical examiners later ruled the death a homicide.

Soon after the teen vanished, Baltimore police alerted local media saying her disappearance was unusual because she had no history of disputes with her family or trouble with the law. Police called it one of the strangest and most vexing missing persons cases they had investigated.

At one point, Guglielmi described it as "Baltimore's Natalee Holloway case," referring to the Alabama teen who disappeared during a trip to Aruba.

The 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. The bill requires state officials to publish a list of missing children and annual statistics. They may also keep a list of groups of volunteers to help with searches and local law enforcement must try to work with them.

Complete Coverage of Phylicia Barnes on Crimesider


  • Crimesider Staff

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