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Advocates to testify for 'Phylicia's Law'

Russell Barnes, center, father of Phylicia Barnes, and other family members light candles during a vigil at Brown's Memorial Baptist Church to mark the one-year anniversary of the disappearance and death of Phylicia.
Russell Barnes, center, father of Phylicia Barnes, and other family members light candles during a vigil at Brown's Memorial Baptist Church to mark the one-year anniversary of the disappearance and death of Phylicia. (Kenneth K. Lam/The Baltimore Sun)

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Maryland lawmakers will hear from advocates for missing children about a bill that aims to improve cooperation whenever a child goes missing.

The House Judiciary Committee is set to hold a hearing Wednesday on "Phylicia's Law," which would require state officials to oversee search efforts and ensure law enforcement and advocates work together.

The bill is named in memory of North Carolina teen Phylicia Barnes, who disappeared in 2010 while visiting Baltimore and was found dead months later. The case spurred broader interest in missing persons cases.

On average, 13,500 children are reported as missing each year in Maryland. About 12,000 are located, but state police say there are about 1,500 to 2,000 open cases on any day.

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