UPDATE, 3:18 P.M.: The Sun can confirm that the body found yesterday has been determined to be that of Phylicia Barnes, according to two law enforcement sources with knowledge of the investigation.
UPDATE, 3:13 P.M.: Charlotte television station WBTV reporter Derrick Rose wrote on Twitter that Phylicia's father confirms that the body found yesterday is his daughter. We are awaiting confirmation from state police.
Baltimore police have provided dental records of missing teenager Phylicia Barnes to the state medical examiner's office for comparison to a body pulled from the Susquehanna River, and a determination is expected this afternoon, an official told The Sun.
An apparent tattoo located on a woman's body found north of the Conowingo Dam Wednesday has raised questions over whether the body is that of Barnes, WBAL-TV is reporting.
Barnes had a tattoo of a rose on her lower right leg, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Citing a source, the television station said that the body pulled from the water has a "similar tattoo." Law enforcement authorities told The Sun the report was premature but investigators are exploring the possibility.
Chief Medical Examiner David Fowler declined to comment on preliminary findings and referred questions to state police. But he confirmed to The Sun that police had submitted Barnes' dental records for comparison, which he described as a routine step. "Like in any other case, police have provided dental records for the presumed individual for comparison," Fowler said. "Within the next couple of hours, a forensic orthodontist will do that comparison."
The body was one of two pulled from waters near the Conowingo Dam on Wednesday, prompting immediate speculation that one of them could be that of Barnes, whose disappearance has confounded detectives, family members, friends and strangers.
Police said crews working on the dam reported seeing what appeared to be a body floating in the river north of the dam at about 7:30 a.m., and Natural Resources police later recovered the body of a female from the water.
In the afternoon, boaters in the river south of the dam found the body of a man. The bodies were taken to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for autopsies, officials said. Barnes, a 17-year-old honors student from Monroe, N.C., was visiting her half-sister in Northwest Baltimore for the holidays when she went missing Dec. 28. Police have conducted several large-scale searches - including an April 9 search in Patapsco Valley State Park - but say those efforts and a media blitz have turned up few clues.