LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A local mother is still haunted by her daughter’s unsolved death. But now more than a decade later, tips are still coming in and she may be closer than ever to unearthing the truth.
You may remember Phylicia Thomas, a young woman who went missing nearly two decades ago. Soon, people will be remember her every time they drive down Route 11.
“She just had a heart of gold. She was very carefree and happy and looked out for everybody,” Pauline Bailey, Phylicia’s mother, said.
16 years have gone by since Bailey last saw her daughter.
“We knew right away that it was really bad. I didn’t know how bad until years later,” Bailey said.
22-year-old Phylicia Thomas of Sweet Valley vanished on February 11, 2004 after she attended a party in the area. Her mother believes that’s where she was murdered and her body was buried nearby. Her remains were never found and Bailey says the people responsible are still walking free. But she says they’re closer than ever to the truth.
“I can’t believe that these guys get away with what they did and they’re still out there loose. It’s unbelievable. But yes, we know and we’re not going to stop. We’ll find her,” Bailey said.
Frustrated with the investigation, the grieving mother took matters into her own hands. With friend Judy Fisher by her side, they conducted their own searches and set up an anonymous tip line. Fisher says they followed up on more than 100 tips throughout the years.
“I would say about 95 of those tips are 100 percent in the direction that we think they’re going,” Fisher said.
Hot on the trail and with renewed hope, thanks to a new lead investigator on the case, these women are determined to keep the momentum going. Now they’re raising money for a billboard on Route 11. Phylicia’s pictures will go on the billboard, but instead of missing, it will say missing and murdered.
“People will think about her more and I’m sure we’re going to get more calls and we’re going to find her,” Bailey said.
They set up a GoFundMe to collect donations. Fisher says they are just $100 shy of their goal. Bailey says she wants Phylicia to be remembered for her kind heart, lively spirit, and her love for nature and people. Eyewitness News asked her where she thought her daughter would be today.
“She would probably be some sort of a counselor or working at a homeless shelter,” Bailey said.
Bailey and Fisher say they know other people were at Phylicia’s last known location and tips to them are extremely important. Anyone with information regarding the case can contact the Pennsylvania State Police Wyoming barracks at 570-697-2000. You can be anonymous.