BALTIMORE (AP) — Baltimore police said they have arrested a man in the death of a North Carolina teenager whose body was found in a river after she vanished in 2010 while visiting relatives in the area.
A man he identified as Michael Johnson has been arrested in the death of 16-year-old Phylicia Barnes, of Monroe, N.C., 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 was visiting her older half-siblings in Baltimore when she disappeared Dec. 28, 2010. 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.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.