Updated:CONYERS, Ga. —
Phylicia Simone Barnes was remembered as a caring, unique girl with a bright smile who was born to succeed.
Family and friends said goodbye Saturday to the North Carolina teen whose body was found months after she went missing while visiting family in Baltimore. The service was held at Springfield Baptist Church in Georgia.
The 16-year-old from Monroe, N.C., went missing Dec. 28. Last month, her body was found in the Susquehanna River, an hour's drive from Baltimore. Authorities are investigating her death as a homicide, but have not released the cause.
Barnes' pastor said she was born to succeed and willing to put in the work. Leaders from her high school said Barnes was both respectful and a master of having fun. Lawrence Sullivan Union Academy's dean of students presented the Barnes family with her high school diploma.
“Through her optimism, through her smile, she gave us a gift. She gave us a gift of faith,” said Sullivan.
The school is planning a scholarship in her name.