The missing Michigan baby case of four-and-a-half-month-old Baby Kate has turned from kidnapping into an open murder charge. “Police believe he [the missing Michigan baby’s father] dumped her body in what Phillips himself -- in what appeared to be a letter he wrote from prison last year to Baby Kate’s mother -- called a ‘peaceful place’.” According to a most recent Oct. 4, 2013, Muskegon Chronicle All Michigan report, “authorities were looking for specific plants, especially particular types of moss and grass-like sedges, that rarely grow near each other but whose traces were found on the shoes or clothing of Sean Michael Phillips, the baby’s father, on June 29, 2011."
June 29, 2011, was the day that the Michigan baby went missing. According to a video interview with Baby Kate’s mother, Ariel Courtland, on the last day that she saw Baby Kate she was sitting with Sean Phillips in his car arguing about the custody of their baby. During last year’s court hearing, the missing Michigan baby’s mother testified that she saw Baby Kate the last time in the car seat in the back of Sean Phillips' vehicle.
Despite all hope and intense searches, missing Michigan Baby Kate was never found.
The missing Michigan baby’s father, 23-year-old Sean Phillips, was arrested the same day that his daughter disappeared after police officers found an empty car seat and diaper bag in the trunk of his car. Officers also found Baby Kate’s balled-up, inside-out clothing in his pocket.
Last year, Sean Phillips was convicted of unlawful imprisonment of his daughter and sentenced to a 10- to 15-year prison term.
Attorney General Bill Schuette announced the open murder charge against Sean Phillips in the missing Michigan Baby Kate’s case on Friday in Ludington City Hall. “We are convinced we can prove beyond a reasonable doubt, that Sean Phillips murdered his own daughter, Baby Kate.”
While not all details have been released about Friday’s change of kidnapping to open murder charge, investigators have said that seeds and other material on Sean Phillips’ shoes could be crucial to locating the body of missing Michigan Baby Kate.