Maryland’s House and Senate approved “Phylicia’s Law,” a bill intended to improve coordination and communication between law enforcement and community groups when a child goes missing. The bill is named after Phylicia Barnes, a 17-year-old North Carolina high school honors student who went missing while visiting her sister in Baltimore in December 2010. Her body was discovered four months later.
Before voting to approve the bill, Maryland lawmakers heard testimony from missing children advocates and examined state statistics on missing children. According to that data, “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.”