Honors Student’s Death May Be Linked to Child Pornography

July 14, 2011  |  

by Charlotte Young

There are new leads in the old case of Phylicia Barnes. Federal authorities are now investigating whether the death of the 16-year-old honors student was linked to child pornography or sexual exploitation.

According to the Charlotte Observer, the FBI has filed search warrants in efforts to get access to Barnes’ email and Facebook accounts as well as the accounts of four men from Baltimore.

The North Carolina honors student went missing late December after visiting her half-sister in Baltimore. Months later the search came to a sad end with the discovery of her naked body found in the Susquehanna River in April, about 35 miles from where she was staying in Baltimore.

Officials have ruled Barnes death a homicide, but have not yet released any details.

Maryland State Police said in a statement in May that releasing “a cause of death at this time could jeopardize the investigation by revealing information known only to the person or persons responsible for her death.”

ABC News reports that the body of Darryl Harper, a 53-year-old from Virginia, was also found in the Susquehanna River several hours after Barnes’ body was found. But police have said there is no connection between the two.

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