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Phylicia Barnes disappeared from Baltimore a month ago; police have no leads

February 1, 2011 1 comment

They did all the things that siblings do when they get together after having been months and miles apart. They went shopping for slippers and chatted about hairdos. They visited their grandmother for Christmas. They sat up late watching movies and eating cookies.

“You know, being sisters.”

Deena Barnes stresses that point in interviews, including her most recent on an Internet radio program, trying to dispel stories swirling about strange men and alcohol in her Northwest Baltimore apartment in the days before her younger half-sister, Phylicia, disappeared on the afternoon of Dec. 28.

More than a month after the 16-year-old from North Carolina went missing wearing her new white slipper-boots, Baltimore police say they have no idea what happened to the track star and honors student who had planned to graduate early from high school and attend Towson University.

As promising leads fizzle, and searches turn up nothing, the baffling case has taken a toll not only on Phylicia’s family but on police as well.

“This is a young girl who was well-liked in high school,” said the lead investigator, Detective Daniel T. Nicholson IV of the homicide unit. “She was doing what any young person would do, visiting her family . . . and she vanished from the face of the earth. That’s hard to believe.”

Nicholson, a 17-year police veteran who has two daughters, said he’s in daily contact with Phylicia’s father, who travels between Baltimore and his home in Atlanta, and with her mother in Monroe, N.C. His biggest fear, he says, is that “it’s not going to be a happy ending.”

Authorities have repeatedly questioned a dozen people who they said had access to Deena Barnes’s basement apartment, including Deena’s ex-boyfriend, the last known person to see Phylicia alive.

Police searched more than three dozen locations, put up billboards, sought national media attention, staffed a round-the-clock hotline and drained sewer water from an old well in a shed. Not a single credible clue or sighting has emerged, they said.

Detectives have said there is no history of family trouble that would cause the teen to run away, no history of drug or alcohol use or abuse, no emotional issues.

Even more troubling, they say, is that no one has reported seeing her since her sister’s ex-boyfriend reported her asleep on the living room couch. The ex-boyfriend now has an attorney; police said several of the people they’ve talked to have retained legal representation.

Phylicia Barnes’s relatives are torn. They want media attention but are reluctant to grant interviews.

Phylicia’s mother, Janice Sallis, has accused 27-year-old Deena of condoning alcohol use and allowing men to come and go from her apartment when Phylicia visited.

The missing girl’s father, Russell Barnes, has denounced Sallis.

The day Phylicia disappeared, Deena said she left for work and texted and talked with Phylicia several times during the morning. Another sister, Kelly Barnes, had planned to pick up Phylicia that afternoon.

Deena said in the radio interview that she spoke to her ex-boyfriend, who said Phylicia was sleeping on the couch when he left. Kelly said she repeatedly tried to contact Phylicia between 12:30 and 1:30 p.m., but got no answer.

Deena returned to the apartment about 6 p.m., she told the radio interviewer, and found her sister missing. She called Kelly first, thinking the two were together, then called her father, other relatives, her ex-boyfriend and friends.

At 7:30 p.m., she called police.

Anyone with information on the disappearance of 16-year-old Phylicia Simone Barnes is urged to call Baltimore police at 855-223-0033. The toll-free number is staffed 24 hours a day. Phylicia is about 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighs about 120 pounds. She was last seen wearing a blue pea coat with a hood, a turquoise thermal shirt, blue jeans and white slipper boots and was carrying a caramel-colored purse. Police urge anyone who thinks they have seen Phylicia Barnes to call 911.

Respectfully submitted via The Washingtonpost.com; By Peter Hermann

Anny Jacoby’s Appearances for National Stalking Awareness Month via ImaginePublicity

January 13, 2011 Comments off

January is National Stalking Awareness Month

Stalking is a repetitive pattern of unwanted, harassing or threatening behavior committed by one person against another.  Acts include: telephone harassment, being followed, receiving unwanted gifts, and other similar forms of intrusive behavior.  All states and the Federal Government have passed anti-stalking legislation.  Definitions may vary state-to-state but most define stalking as “the willful, malicious, and repeated following and harassing of another person that threatens his or her safety”.

Anny Jacoby

Anny Jacoby, Personal Safety Expert and Certified Self-Defense Coach, will be making appearances to enhance awareness during January, National Stalking Awareness Month.

Anny’s mission is to reach out to every avenue available to teach these skills at the corporate level, to emergency services, victim support groups and agencies, schools, colleges and health service providers. Her professional programs are designed for every age group from children to seniors, as well as a program designed specifically for the disabled.

Lavinia Masters

Lavinia Masters serves as a speaker, volunteer and Sexual Assault Response Team Member for Denton County Friends of the Family Rape Crisis Center, a national speaker for Rape Abuse And Incest Network (RAINN), and a spokesperson for the Dallas Police Department Sexual Assault Cold Case Program (SEACAP). Lavinia also founded and is the director of the S.A.V.E. ( Sexual Abuse Victim Empowering) Ministry and the facilitator of S.A.S.S.I. (Sexual Abuse Support Survivor Initiative).

The Lavinia Masters Show on BlogTalk Radio

Tune in Thursday evening, January 13, at 8pmEST to listen to Anny Jacoby and Lavinia Masters discuss the many aspects of stalking and how toinsure your safety should you be the victim of a stalker.

Go to the link to Listen and Chat Live:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/lavinia-masters/2011/01/14/its-not-a-joke-its-not-romantic-its-not-okay-its-a-crimestop-stalking-with-anny-jacoby

Peas In Their Pods

Peas In Their Pods Organizational goal takes pride in helping to find missing children of color, fight against child abuse, and provide information to the public.

Every 40 seconds a child is reported missing in the United States. Under 45% are African American Children.

Peas In Their Pods Radio on BlogTalk Radio

On Sunday, January 16, 7PM EST, Anny Jacoby will be appearing on the popular internet radio show, Peas In Their Pods, presented by an organization which helps the plight of missing children by filling in the gap when an Amber Alert criteria isn’t met.

Hosts Gaetane Borders and Janice Lowery, and guest, Anny Jacoby,  will be giving listeners lessons on the definition of stalking, how to know if you are being stalked, and what to do about it to be sure you are safe from danger.

Go to the link to Listen and Chat Live:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/peasintheirpods/2011/01/17/peas-in-their-pods

To schedule an appearance by Anny Jacoby, Lavinia Masters or a representative from Peas In Their Pods, please contact ImaginePublcity by filling in the form below or call 843.808.0859.

 

Missing… FINALLY Phylicia Barnes Case Gets National Attention

January 12, 2011 3 comments

Baltimore MD. Last week authorities in Baltimore were at a loss for tips and leads in the case of missing Phylicia Barnes. They had made reference to the fact that the case had not gotten national attention. That has changed now.

The Nancy Grace Show featured the case last night and will be covering it again tonite. CNN’s Headline News has also been running spots today about the case. A public outcry for coverage by people online has been ongoing. This service contacted several of the major news channels requesting coverage as a part of that online campaign. But is it too little too late?

Reportedly Baltimore Police Spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said “I feel like we missed our golden window in trying to find her, not that we don’t appreciate the efforts, but it would have been great if we had gotten a little more exposure when this was one or two days fresh”. He also said he was grateful for the coverage that the case has now been receiving.

Authorities believe Phylicia has been abducted. They are hoping that someone will see her photo and remember seeing something.

She has been missing over 2 weeks now and today is Phylicia’s birthday. She turned 17 years old today and her whereabouts remain unknown. This must be an especially hard day for her family emotionally. Our thoughts and prayers, along with 10s of thousands of others across the nation, are with them and Phylicia. We all hope for her safe return. There has been Facebook site set up for Phylicia here Pray For Phylicia Barnes.

Authorities have set up a special tip line. Anyone with information on Phylicia Barnes’ disappearance should call 855-223-0033.

Radio Amber Alert Video – Phylicia Barnes

Related: Sanity Gurlz Vie To Get Media Attention for Phylicia Barnes

Respectfully submitted via Internet Radio Amber Alerts News Service

Human Trafficking Awareness Day, January 11: Millions Held in Forced Labor, Abused and Exploited

January 11, 2011 1 comment

Today is national Human Trafficking Awareness Day, the annual calendar date meant to bring attention to the fact that human trafficking remains a serious problem both in the United States and abroad.

According to Change.org, “Slavery is more affordable, more widespread and more entrenched in 2011 than it was in ancient Rome or the antebellum South of America. Modern-day slaves, also called human trafficking victims, can be male or female, from any country or representing any ethnicity.”

In the United States, human trafficking victims are forced to work in the sex trade, as domestic servants, on farms and in factories.

It’s difficult to say how many people are victims of human trafficking, and estimates vary widely. What’s known for sure is that human trafficking is a multibillion-dollar industry worldwide.

The U.N. Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking puts the number of victims at a shocking 2.5 million. According to U.N. GIFT, human trafficking affects “every continent and every type of economy.”

The U.S. State Department estimates an even higher number — about 12.3 million adults and children “in forced labor, bonded labor and forced prostitution around the world.”

The worst rates of the problem are in Asia, where the U.N. Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking estimates that more than 50 percent of slavery victims are found. The State Department says that in Asia, there are three human trafficking victims for every 1,000 people — three times the rates elsewhere.

A petition, organized by a coalition of anti-human-trafficking organizations, has called on President Barack Obama and Congress to make fighting modern-day slavery a priority. And here’s a video from Not for Sale describing the horrifying statistics of modern-day slavery.

Respectfully submitted via AOL News

Stalking Victim Presses for Employment Protection

January 11, 2011 Comments off

An anti-stalking bill in the Senate Judiciary Committee imposes tougher punishment on offenders and expands the definition of the crime to include online privacy intrusions. But one victim says it lacks a crucial component: employment protection.

A congressional anti-stalking bill that passed the U.S. House of Representatives last summer, now sitting in the Senate Judiciary Committee, has a number of prominent supporters.

One is Erin Andrews, an ESPN sports correspondent whose stalker secretly filmed her getting undressed and then posted videos of her naked on the Internet. Andrews has given congressional testimony and several press conferences on the importance of the bill.

An estimated 3.4 million people were victims of stalking in 2009, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Andrews’ stalker, Michael Barrett, was sentenced in March 2010 to 30 months in prison. According to media reports, Andrews was angered by what she saw as a lenient sentence.

The bill–Simplifying The Ambiguous Law, Keeping Everyone Reliably Safe, or STALKERS Act–extends the definition of stalking to include cyberstalking. It also lengthens offenders’ prison terms by a maximum of five years when they are in violation of a protection order and when the victim is under 18 or over 65. This would allow for some convicted stalkers to serve up to 10 years in prison.

Some stalking victims say the bill has a crucial weakness: no provision for those whose employment is jeopardized by their stalking complaints.

Dawn V. Martin, an attorney, claims her own victimization by a stalker caused her to lose her post as a Howard University law professor.

“No woman should have to choose between her safety and her job,” Martin said in a recent phone interview. “If she isn’t protected under the law, then a woman could choose to keep her victimization a secret from her employer. The result would be endangering herself and her coworkers because she fears losing her job if she speaks up.”

Women Often Lose Jobs

Ludy Green, who has worked in human resources for two decades, agrees. She has spent 20 years advocating for the rights of stalking and domestic violence victims in the workplace.

“When a woman is being stalked in the workplace, companies often fire them or don’t renew contracts for fear of putting their other employees in danger or fear of legal action if they don’t provide sufficient protection and someone gets hurt,” said Green, founder of Second Chance Employment Services, a Washington, D.C., nonprofit that secures meaningful employment for women who have been victimized by stalking, domestic violence and human trafficking.

“Sometimes employers let women go because they’re not educated in how to deal with these situations and they just want the problem to go away,” she said. “But this is something that comes from misunderstanding the situation. The last thing a victim needs is to lose her job.”

Martin says Howard University administrators ignored the advice of the Washington, D.C., police to provide her with protection on campus after she reported being pursued by a “serial stalker,” one with a history of stalking female law professors on other campuses as well as female lawyers.

The stalking began in November 1997, her second year at Howard.

When the law school decided against renewing her contract the following month–in December–it cited a lack of available positions.

Martin detected a connection to her stalking complaint and in 1999 she sued for sexual harassment, hostile work environment and retaliation for reporting sexual harassment under TitleVII, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Washington, D.C., Human Rights Act.

During legal proceedings it came out that several positions had been open when her contract was not renewed. One concerned equal employment opportunity law, an area of her expertise. The dean of the law school had withheld the vacancies from the Appointments, Tenure and Promotions Committee responsible for reviewing Martin’s contract renewal.

Precedent-Setting Decision

The U.S. District Court for Washington, D.C., issued a precedent-setting decision in her case: that an employer can be held liable for the sexual harassment of an employee by a non-employee if the employer knew of the harassment and failed to take reasonable steps to end it.

In its defense, Howard argued that Martin was not protected under Title VII because her memos characterized her troubles as “stalking” and a “security problem” rather than using the words “sexual harassment.”

The same court’s 1999 decision held that a victim needn’t specifically refer to sexual harassment to invoke Title VII, but the judge refused to instruct the jury, which had asked for guidance.

Martin lost the case when the jury determined that stalking did not constitute sexual harassment within the meaning of Title VII.

Martin said it boiled down to a question of law, not a question of fact for the jury.

“If Title VII had included victims of stalking, I would have won my case,” said Martin. “Nobody denied I was being stalked on campus.”

Both the National Association of Women Lawyers, based in Chicago, and the Washington, D.C.-based National Organization for Women filed briefs in support of Martin’s claims.

Last November, Martin filed an appeal and she is now seeking support from other women’s groups. She thinks it’s more effective to push this through the courts than to amend the bill now pending in the legislature.

Martin also believes Title VII should be amended to include victims of stalking and domestic violence.

She says the language can be taken directly from the New York City Human Rights Law, Title 8, which was amended in January 2001 to prohibit employment discrimination against victims of domestic violence and in December 2003 to include victims of stalking.

“All the federal government has to do is lift the language directly out of the New York City law,” said Martin.

 

Respectfully submitted via Women’s enews


Loughner STALKED Giffords For Three Years

January 10, 2011 Comments off

 

Killer’s eerie note: ‘I planned ahead’

He had her in his cross hairs for years.

The crackpot gunman charged in the frenzied ambush of Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords on Saturday had stashed handwritten messages in his basement safe bearing the chilling words: “Gifford,” “My assassination” and “I planned ahead,” authorities said yesterday.

Accused killer Jared Lee Loughner, 22, signed at least one of the pieces of paper, which he put in a single envelope and placed in the safe at his parents’ modest one-story home in the northwest section of the city, according to charges filed yesterday in federal court in Phoenix.

Also inside the safe was a letter on Giffords’ congressional stationery thanking Loughner for attending one of her “Congress on your Corner” events at a mall in Tucson in 2007.

Loughner had asked Giffords at the event, “What is government if words have no meaning?” according to two friends from high school.

A former classmate, Caitie Parker — who has called the suspect “left wing” and “a pothead” — tweeted that after that event, Loughner said he thought Giffords was “stupid” and “unintelligent.”

That mall event was the same type Loughner invaded Saturday, when he shot Giffords point-blank in the head and killed six others, authorities said.

The same year that Loughner attended the event with Giffords, he began a descent into drug use and erratic behavior, records show.

In October 2007, Loughner was cited by the Pima County Sheriff’s Department for possession of drug paraphernalia, a charge that was dismissed a month later when he completed a court-ordered program.

A year later, he faced a charge in Marana Municipal Court that was dismissed after the completion of another program. The charge was never made public.

It was also in 2008 that Loughner tried to enlist in the Army but was rejected after reportedly failing his drug test.

He soon enrolled at Pima Community College, where his wacko behavior immediately alarmed students and professors.

Pima officials said in a statement that from February to September 2010, campus cops were called on Loughner five times because of classroom and library disruptions.

He was suspended after college police discovered a YouTube video in which Loughner claimed the college was “illegal.”

Along with the suspension came a terse letter to Loughner’s parents stating if he wanted to come back, he’d have to “obtain a mental-health clearance” from a professional,” the school said. Loughner dropped out instead.

Pima math teacher Ben McGahee said Loughner worried him.

“I always felt, you know, somewhat paranoid,” McGahee told The Washington Post. “When I turned my back to write on the board, I would always turn back quickly — to see if he had a gun.”

An older student in the class, Lynda Sorenson, 52, was scared stiff of the lunatic. She wrote e-mails — provided to The Washington Post — alluding to Loughner’s antics.

“He scares me a bit . . . Hopefully he will be out of class very soon, and not come back with an automatic weapon,” she wrote on June 1, the first day of class.

The feds are reportedly looking into whether he joined an anti-Semitic, anti-government hate group.

According to a Department of Homeland Security memo, the agency is trying to determine whether Loughner is linked to the fanatical group American Renaissance, Fox News reported The group promotes views that are “anti-government, anti-immigration, anti-ZOG (Zionist Occupation Government), anti-Semitic,” the memo says.

Giffords is “the first Jewish female elected to such a high-position in the US government. She was also opposite the group’s ideology when it came to immigration debate,” according the memo.

Jared Taylor, editor of American Renaissance, vehemently denied any association with Loughner.

Loughner grew up in a neighborhood of ranch-style and split-level homes, with parents whom neighbors described as loners.

Neither of Loughner’s parents was home yesterday.

Loughner could face death by lethal injection if he’s convicted of murder in the horrific shooting case. He’ll be arraigned today in federal court in Phoenix.

Respectfully submitted via NYPost

UVA Lacrosse Murder: New Charges Filed Against George Huguely in Death of Yeardley Love

January 10, 2011 Comments off

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS/WTVR/AP) George Huguely, the former University of Virginia lacrosse player being held on a first-degree murder charge for the death of Yeardley Love, has been charged with an additional five counts.

UVA Lacrosse Murder: New Charges Filed Against George Huguely in Death of Yeardley Love

Charlottesville Commonwealth’s Attorney Dave Chapman filed the new charges of felony murder, robbery, burglary, statutory burglary, and grand larceny against the 22-year-old Friday.

Huguely waived his right to appear by video at a brief hearing Monday morning when the new charges were entered into the record in Charlottesville General District Court, reports CBS affiliate WTVR.

Charlottesville police have charged Huguely with first-degree murder in the death of his ex-girlfriend and fellow classmate Yeardley Love. Huguely claims the death was an accident.

Upset over their recent break-up, Huguely allegedly broke into Love’s apartment May 3 and shook her while her head struck the wall.

Police say Huguely admitted that he saw blood dripping from 22-year-old’s nose before he pushed her back down on her bed, stole her computer which contained e-mails exchanged between the two, and fled.

Huguely has been in solitary confinement in a Charlottesville jail for the past seven months while awaiting his Jan. 21 preliminary hearing. The hearing has since been postponed to a date still to be determined.

Respectfully submitted via Crimesider (CBS)