Prayerful rally

Candace Nelson (6) along with family and friends of the deceased teen, Phylicia Barnes, pause for a prayer during a rally at City Hall to keep the case alive and plea with the public for answers. (Baltimore Sun photo by Gene Sweeney Jr. / June 28, 2011)

Next week will mark one year since North Carolina teenager Phylicia Barnes, later found dead in the Susquehanna River, disappeared while visiting relatives in Baltimore for the holidays, and the anniversary is triggering renewed interest.

Investigators have been tight-lipped, with little developments since the summer, when The Sun first reported on July 7 that the FBI was seeking access to Facebook accounts as part of a child pornography investigation.

Anticipating media inquiries, Maryland State Police sent out this statement today describing the investigation as "actively continuing" but declining to reveal any progress:

INVESTIGATION OF THE MURDER OF PHYLICIA BARNES CONTINUES

(BALTIMORE, MD) – Maryland State Police homicide investigators and their partners in the Baltimore Police Department are actively continuing their investigation into the murder of a North Carolina teenager, who went missing while visiting family in Baltimore almost one year ago.

Phylicia Barnes was visiting family in Baltimore when she disappeared on December 28, 2010. Her body was found on the morning of April 20, 2011, in the Susquehanna River near the Conowingo Dam in Harford County. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner ruled her death was a homicide. Investigators have yet to publicly release the cause of death due to the importance of that information to the ongoing investigation.

Detectives from multiple units in the Baltimore Police Department, including the Homicide Unit, were investigating the disappearance of Barnes. When her body was found in Harford County, Maryland State Police Homicide Unit investigators joined the investigation into her murder. This joint investigation has continued since April, with the assistance of multiple other local, state and federal law enforcement agencies.

No charges have been filed or arrests made in connection with the murder of Phylicia Barnes. Investigators have worked the case continually and progress has been made, although making the details of that progress public at this time could hinder the outcome of the investigation. The work of investigators has included re-interviewing family and friends, reviewing evidence, searching for and analyzing additional evidence, and conducting forensic examinations. Investigators have continued to work with the Harford County State’s Attorney’s Office and have kept officials there updated on the investigation.

Concerned citizens have called regularly with tips and theories for investigators. That information has all been reviewed, analyzed, and investigated. Police continue to urge anyone with information regarding the murder of Phylicia Barnes to contact them immediately. Persons with information may call the TIPS Line that has been established since Barnes disappeared at 1-855-223-0033. Or, they can call the Maryland State Police duty officer at 410-653-4200. Calls may be kept confidential.

Homicide investigators have maintained contact with the family of Phylicia Barnes, both in North Carolina and Baltimore. They have assured family members the investigation is active and ongoing.