This case started on June 29, 2011, when 4-month old Katherine Shelbie-Elizabeth Phillips, also known as Baby Kate, was reported missing in Ludington, Michigan. After an argument erupted between Baby Kate's father and mother, Ariel Courtland, Phillips left with his daughter in the car. She has been missing since.
Extensive investigations were done by local, state, and federal authorities, but Baby Kate's body has yet to be found.
According to authorities, Phillips is already imprisoned at Carson City Correctional Facility after he was convicted of unlawful imprisonment of Baby Kate. He is to serve a minimum of ten years on that conviction.
In a chilling turn of events, news sources reported that Courtland had filed for a marriage license to marry Phillips, despite the seriousness of the case. According to Courtland, she wasn't going to marry him. She only did this to get information from him.
Not long after, Phillips allegedly wrote a letter taking responsibility for the death of Baby Kate, claiming that he did not realize she was in the car with him. He noticed her baby seat in the car and thought Courtland left it in the car with intent, so he would have to return it. He allegedly ripped the seat out of the car in an angry fit, not realizing the baby was in the car seat, causing her to fly out of the seat and die.
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette's office is trying the case in cooperation with Mason County Prosecutor Paul Spaniola. First assistant attorney general for the criminal division, Donna Pendergast, will be handling the case. Pendergast has experience in trying 'no body' murder cases.
The open murder charges will allow the jury to decide Phillip's fate, which could range between acquittal to life in prison.