'Phylicia's Law' passes Md. House and Senate

ANNAPOLIS, Md. - It was back in December of 2010 when the 17 year old from North Carolina disappeared in Baltimore city.

An all out search ensued and continued for months until her body was found last spring up near the Conowingo Dam.

A still unsolved murder Baltimore Democrat Jill Carter says the state can learn from.

"The Phylicia Barnes case really brought to light the need to step up efforts when children go missing at the outset to make sure that they don't wind up in the situation like the tragedy of Phylicia Barnes."

Carter authored a bill in the teen's name which just passed the house and senate and focuses on the front end of a missing child case.

It ensures law enforcement will coordinate with volunteer search groups, post details of the case online and coordinate with local, state and national authorities within the crucial first hours of a disappearance.

The Phylicia Barnes bill also raises the requirement for immediate police action from age 14 to 17 years old.

Measures the Barnes' family supported with testimony just last month in Annapolis helping in part to close a loophole and require immediate action for children of all ages and races.

"The big prize here is that it hopefully will bring more attention and cause media and volunteer groups and law enforcement to focus more on children when they go missing in the first few hours because that is the most critical time," said Carter.

The delegate says this may be the first missing child bill named after a minority.

While she has not spoken to the governor directly, she expects him to sign it into law.

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