Police do not yet know what caused the death of Phylicia Barnes, a star student from North Carolina whose naked body was found in a Maryland river Wednesday, or the death of a black male whose unclothed body was found three to four miles downstream.
Barnes, missing since late December, has been the subject of a multi-jurisdictional missing persons investigation since at least January, officials said.
"We're now at stage one of a new phase of the investigation," Baltimore Police Commissioner Frederick Bealefeld told reporters this evening. "There's a mountain of investigative work that needs to be done."
Preliminary autopsies failed to determine what caused the deaths of Barnes or the unidentified male, said Terrence Sheridan, superintendent of the Maryland State Police, and there was no evidence linking the two deaths other than the proximity of their bodies.
"There was no indication of any overt wounds or injuries to Phylicia Barnes' body," Sheridan said.
"Nothing was found on the bodies, attached to the bodies when we recovered them from the river," he added.
The body of Phylicia Barnes, who disappeared... View Full Size
The body of Phylicia Barnes, who disappeared in December, was found on April 21, 2011. Missing Teen Phylicia Barnes' Body Found Watch Video
Phylicia Barnes: Maryland Authorities Speak Watch Video
Missing Teen's Mom: 'Let Her Go' Watch Video
For more on the Barnes case, see ABC News coverage of her disappearance.
Anthony Guglielmi of the Baltimore Police confirmed Thursday that investigators found not one, but two bodies Wednesday near the Susquehanna River about 35 miles from Baltimore.
One was that of the 16-year-old Barnes, who was identified via dental records, Sheridan said.
The identity of the second body -- a 6-foot-4, 240-pound, black male -- was not immediately clear. Police were trying to identify him through fingerprint records, Sheridan said.
Workers at the Conowingo Dam spotted Barnes' body floating in the water around 7:30 a.m. Wednesday and notified state troopers in the area, according to Maryland State Police spokesman Greg Shipley. While investigators were still in the area, they discovered a second body floating three or four miles south of the dam a few hours later.
Barnes was 16 when she went missing Dec. 28 during a trip to visit her half-sister. She would have turned 17 in January.
"The medical examiner has indicated to us that it's not out of the realm of possibility that the body could have been there" in the river since the time of Barnes' disappearance, Sheridan said.
The cold water could have preserved the body, he said, and the swiftness of the river flow may make it difficult to learn where Barnes entered the river.
"When you look at that river, how fast it's moving when the floodgates opened, anything could have happened," Sheridan said.
Barnes was from Monroe, N.C., a straight-A student, and was last heard from Dec. 28, 2010, via Facebook, when she posted a note saying she was at her sister's apartment with her sister's boyfriend.
Hundreds went to the Facebook page "Pray for Phylicia Barnes," leaving notes of condolences after police announced her body was discovered.
"R.I.P Phylicia...we pray for peace with your family and justice served for the person or persons responsible for ending your life," one Facebook user wrote.
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[What's This?]EmailPrintShareComment & ContributeDo you have more information about this topic? If so, please click here to contact the editors of ABC News. View All Comments (32)MirandaB1989
12:36 PM EDT
Apr 25, 2011At Walmart there are numerous missing children pictures whether they are black, white, hispanic, etc. but most of these children do not receive media coverage and it is not due to racism. The Natalee Holloway tragedy was given the widespread media coverage due to being a missing person and murdered in another country, not because she was white or caucasian. Another girl the same boy had killed had received the same widespread media attention, she was hispanic and her name was Flores Ramirez. There was also a boy shot to death recently named Marcus Hankins II he was an outstanding young man whom all races have come together during this time to mourn over his tragic death and he has received media attention as well. As for the people who are turning Phylicia Barnes tragic death into a racial matter I hope you realize that this is not about racism or being black this is about mourning the death of an amazing young woman who's life was cut short. My sympathies go out to phylicia's family but mostly to phylicia herself for being deprived of not only a long and happy life but also for having the spotlight taken off of this poor girl's tragic death and having it turned into a racial debate. GBee54
11:59 PM EDT
Apr 23, 2011Even in death, this tragedy is treated nothing like Natalie Holloway or any other Caucasian incident. I have had to Goggle for information/updates about this child as the Fox News Network gave the discovery of her body all of 5 seconds! Sad and shameful!!!!!!!!!!!1littlelite
10:03 PM EDT
Apr 22, 2011A black girl missing since December and only now do we hear about it, after she is found dead. They found her, but where and when did anyone put out a national Amber Alert or even report it on national news when she went missing. This is outrageous, very damning example of how the media treat the disappearance of black people/children in this country.View All Comments (32)