Sister of slain teen sought restraining order - WECT, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Sister of slain teen sought restraining order against last person to see her alive

Michael Johnson (Courtesy: MySpace) Michael Johnson (Courtesy: MySpace)

UNION COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - Six weeks before investigators pulled the body of Union County teenager Phylicia Barnes from a Maryland river, Barnes' sister applied for a restraining order against the man who was reportedly the last person to see the teen alive.

According to Baltimore District Court records, Deena Barnes, Phylicia's half-sister, applied for the order against her former boyfriend Michael Johnson.

She tried to obtain the restraining order because she felt Johnson had been harassing her after the couple's break-up, her father Russell told

The pair had been in the midst of the ending their ten year relationship in the last week of December 2010. At the time, Johnson was in the process of moving out of the couple's northwest Baltimore apartment.

Phylicia Barnes, 16, who was staying with her half-sister at that apartment for Christmas, disappeared December 28.

WEB EXTRA: Previous Coverage of Phylicia Barnes death investigation

On March 7, Maryland District Court Judge Shannon Avery denied the request for the restraining order saying there was "no threat and no actual harassment," court records show.

Forty-four days later, crews working on the Conowingo Dam in Harford County, Maryland discovered the teen's body floating in the Susquehanna River.

Investigators have not revealed the results of Barnes' autopsy, only saying the teen was the victim of homicide.

Federal search warrant applications also linked to sister's ex-boyfriend

On May 10, FBI Special Agent Jacqueline Dougher filed three applications for search warrants seeking evidence of "Sexual Exploitation of Children" and "Distribution and Possession of Child Pornography" from several email accounts and Facebook profile account numbers, federal court records show.

The applications were initially sealed, and later unsealed on June 30.

One of the Facebook account numbers links to Phylicia Barnes' profile. At least three of the email accounts contain the teen's name or a variation of it. Of those three, one account also links to the teen's MySpace Page, WBTV has confirmed.

Two of the other email accounts in the warrant applications show connections to Johnson. Of the two, one links to a MySpace page bearing the same name as Johnson.

The other, however, links to a MySpace page of a 19-year-old Maryland man who claims to be Michael Johnson's brother. Posted to that MySpace page are pictures of Deena Barnes and Michael Johnson, WBTV has also confirmed.

The case file containing those warrant applications have since been ordered to be sealed by United States Magistrate Judge Beth P. Gesner.

It was not immediately clear when or why the file was re-sealed, nor was it known what potential evidence or information the FBI may have discovered from the accounts they wanted to search.

Baltimore FBI field office spokesperson Rich Wolf declined to comment Friday, referring questions to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Baltimore.

A representative from the U.S. Attorney's office said she could not comment on the file.

Barnes Family concerned over lack of arrests

Hundreds of Barnes relatives and friends signed an online petition recently expressing their concern over the lack of arrests in the case.

"Baltimore police have stated on-air they believe they are the one of the best police departments in this country and have promised 'closure' to the Barnes and Sallis family in Phylicia's death. Her family cannot have 'closure' without 'justice'," the petition said, which by the morning of September 2 has received more than 800 signatures.

"No one should think for a minute that this investigation has been suspended or is any less important to the Maryland State Police than it was the day Phylicia's body was recovered," Maryland State Police Spokesperson Greg Shipley told WBTV. 

No one has yet been named as a suspect in the death of Barnes.

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