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MONROE, NC (WBTV) - Sixteen years old. Ready to graduate high school. Go to college.
That was the life Phylicia Barnes thought was waiting in Baltimore. Instead, it was the place where she met her death.
Two months have passed since her body washed up in Maryland's Susquehanna river in April. Since that day, WBTV has learned from police that someone actually killed the Monroe teen.
Investigators would not say then, and are still not saying now how she died or who could possibly be responsible.
The Barnes investigation drew local and national coverage during the 4 month search, but since then, tips have slowed and the headline has faded.
"I'm not naive to the fact of how long things take, that's what keeps me going," Phylicia's father Russell said.
Two words are what Russell Barnes lives by these days: Staying Focused. To him, that's what will keep his daughter's case from going cold.
Phylicia's killer is out there and Mr. Barnes wants that person to know their freedom won't last long. "This person just needs to go ahead and just give himself up and turn himself in, you know, because you can't be living good right now, you're always looking over your shoulder," he said.
That's the emotion you'd expect just about any father to express. What may surprise some is his other feeling: forgiveness.
Maybe that's what will bring Phylicia's family what they have been wanting and waiting so long to see.
"Being a Christian, yes, I can personally forgive them, but justice still has to be served to it all and for it all, you know what I mean."