The residents of Baltimore, Maryland, were left shocked when 16-year-old Phylicia Simone Barnes went missing while on her way to the Reisterstown Road Plaza. Although the police initially treated it as a typical missing person case, things took a turn for the worse once authorities discovered Phylicia’s body in the Susquehanna River near Conowingo Dam.
Crime Junkie’s ‘Murdered: Phylicia Simone Barnes’ takes the viewer through the gruesome crime and even follows the police investigation that seemingly led to Phylicia’s half-sister’s ex-boyfriend, Michael Johnson. Well, let’s delve into the details surrounding the case and find out where Michael Johnson is at present, shall we?
Who Is Michael Johnson?
A resident of Baltimore, Maryland, Michael Johnson, is the ex-boyfriend of Phylicia’s half-sister, Deena. People who know Michael mentioned that prior to being accused of Phylicia’s murder, he was known to be a regular boy with no criminal history and was mostly well-behaved. Besides, reports mention that Michael was pretty close to both Phylicia as well as Deena and would often spend hours with the girls. However, shortly before Phylicia’s disappearance, Deena broke up with Michael, and he was in the process of moving some of his belongings out of their house.
Phylicia Simone Barnes went missing on December 28, 2010, while on her way to the Reisterstown Road Plaza in Baltimore, Maryland. She was visiting relatives in Baltimore, and once they realized that the 16-year-old might be in danger, they approached the police and reported her missing. Although authorities prioritized the case and organized search parties before combing through the city, they found no sign of the missing girl.
With time, the authorities had to publicize the incident and even spread the word through TV commercials, posters, and billboards, asking the public to step forward if they had any information. However, the worst was confirmed in April 2011 when the police found a naked deceased body in the Susquehanna River near the Conowingo Dam and identified it as Phylicia Barnes. Subsequently, an autopsy determined the incident to be a homicide, although information related to the cause of death was kept confidential.
Once the missing person case changed into a homicide investigation, authorities canvassed the area around the Conowingo Dam and interviewed several acquaintances of Phylicia. That was when they learned that although Michael was in a relationship with Deena, he had allegedly helped Phylicia consume alcohol and had made sexual advances toward her. In fact, reports mention that Phylicia, Deena, Michael, and Michael’s younger brother had purportedly gotten intimate together, which was captured on video.
However, while the reported video made it seem like Phylicia wasn’t very fond of Michael, the police mentioned none of the 1200 text messages the victim exchanged with Michael were flirtatious or explicit in nature. Additionally, detectives also figured that Michael was obsessed with Phylicia and would reportedly keep tabs on her.
Where Is Michael Johnson Today?
Interestingly, there wasn’t any forensic evidence that connected Michael Johnson to the murder, and the police were only able to arrest him once a neighbor came forward and claimed he had seen Michael struggling to remove a 35-gallon plastic tub out of the house Phylicia was staying in on the night of her disappearance. Once produced in court, Michael pled not guilty to the charge of first-degree murder.
Yet, another person with a criminal record claimed to have helped Michael dispose of the body, and the jury convicted him of second-degree murder in February 2013. However, before his sentencing date arrived, Michael’s attorneys got his conviction overturned, and he was granted a second trial. Nevertheless, Michael saw most charges against him dropped in 2015 for lack of evidence, and he was acquitted of all charges related to Phylicia’s murder in 2018.
Although Michael was cleared of all suspicion in 2018, he decided to file a $750,000 claim against a homicide detective who had investigated him as a murder suspect. With no news on the outcome of that claim, we believe that the courts are yet to pass judgment on it. Meanwhile, Michael has embraced privacy since his acquittal and prefers to keep his personal life under wraps. However, from the looks of it, he still resides in Baltimore, Maryland, and has been trying to put his past in the rearview mirror.