KATHERINE "Baby Kate" PHILLIPS - 4 Months (6/2011) - Ludington (NW of Grand Rapids) MI

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Re: KATHERINE "Baby Kate" PHILLIPS - 4 Months (6/2011) - Ludington (NW of Grand Rapids) MI

Post by onehope on Wed Jul 20, 2011 5:11 pm

911 call about Baby Kate abduction
Jennifer Linn Hartley - Staff Writer

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Ariel Courtland, the mother of missing infant Katherine “Kate Phillips,” told a 911 dispatcher kidnapping suspect Sean Phillips was giving Ariel and Baby Kate a ride to a DNA test at the hospital when he took off with the infant.
After a Freedom of Information Act request by the Daily News, Mason-Oceana 911 released the 911 call made by Courtland to report Kate’s abduction just after 1 p.m. June 29 from outside of her home in Birch Lake Apartments.

Kate was last seen in Sean Phillips’ vehicle outside of the apartment. In the call, Courtland said she forgot her keys and went back into the apartment to get them when Sean drove off with Kate.

“Um, the father of my child took our daughter and I don’t know where he’s at with her and she’s my daughter he has no legal rights over her. I was supposed to take her for a DNA test at 1 o’clock and, um, for him, for child support, and he came over and I thought he was going to give us a ride there, so we got in the car and then I forgot something in my house, so I ran back up stairs to get… my keys and I came back down and they’re gone,” Courtland told the dispatcher.

Courtland then tells the dispatcher that Sean already went to his appointment.


See the full story in today's print and eEditions of the Ludington Daily
http://www.ludingtondailynews.com/news/59359-911-call-about-baby-kate-abduction
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Re: KATHERINE "Baby Kate" PHILLIPS - 4 Months (6/2011) - Ludington (NW of Grand Rapids) MI

Post by twinkletoes on Sat Jul 23, 2011 8:15 am

Marney Rich Keenan

When people go missing, families turn to Missing You Foundation
Michigan nonprofit's volunteer investigator driven to help families and police

Unless you're Casey Anthony, when your child is missing, you want to get word out far and wide. You want search parties organized. And you want help with law enforcement and news media.

What you want, in essence, is a Jamie Jones.

Jones' official title is chief investigator for Missing You Foundation, a Michigan-based nonprofit that helps families of the missing find their loved ones.

But Jones , 48, of Albion really is more of a jack of all trades in the missing persons arena. He could be calming down a frantic mother one minute and organizing a search party of 75 volunteers to be on the ground on an hour'svnotice the next.

On Monday, Jones, who works as a restaurant and catering chef, was steeped in his most recent case — that of the missing 4-month-old Katherine "Baby Kate" Phillips of Ludington. He would not leave his home office, otherwise known as command central.

"It's an adrenaline thing," Jones said.

"The first week that this happened, I hardly slept. Maybe two, three hours a night. Especially in the beginning when time is of the essence I can't walk away from this chair."

"Baby Kate" went missing June 29.

Sean Michael Phillips, 21, who has been arrested on kidnapping charges, allegedly abducted the child outside the Ludington apartment where the baby lives with her mother, Ariel Courtland, and the couple's 4-year-old daughter, Haley. While Phillips refused to cooperate with authorities on the whereabouts of the infant, search groups have been combing the area daily.

Missing You Foundation was contacted by the child's family shortly after the Amber Alert was posted. Jones got right to work creating the Facebook page: "Katherine Shelbie Elizabeth Phillips — Missing in Michigan" complete with downloadable fliers for people to print and post. (In 12 days the site had more than 2.5 million hits.) He helped organize search parties, and on a 90-degree-plus day, he made sure that 30 cases of water were delivered to the volunteers.

Collaborating with the local Chamber of Commerce and radio stations, Jones also started a donation drive to raise money for a reward.

Through his close ties with notables in the field (like child advocate Marc Klaas and bounty hunter Bobby Brown), Jones pressed and got the TV host Nancy Grace to write about the "Baby Kate" case on her blog.

This is all nonpaid, straight-from-the-heart work for Jones, who first volunteered in 2007 in the search for Mary Lands of Marshall. Lands was a 39-year-old medical billing clerk who disappeared from her home under suspicious circumstances.

"It gets in your blood," Jones said. "I just really want to help bring closure to these families. You can deal with death. It's hard, but you can deal with it. It's the unknown that tears you apart."

"Jamie is amazing in that he is not classically trained but he is the best investigator I know," says Missing You Foundation founder Shannon Dingee-Kramer, 35, of Okemos. "His passion for this work is so great. He just seems to have a never-ending supply of it."

The idea for the nonprofit — which offers search and rescue resources, volunteers, dog handlers and a liaison between families, media and law enforcement — arose out of a family tragedy for Dingee-Kramer. "My mother was killed in 1997," she said. "Because there was so much mystery surrounding her death and I'd felt so powerless, I decided I wanted to give families in these horrible situations the power that I didn't have. I can't fix what happened to my mother, but I can help these families not feel so helpless."

Kramer estimates that since 2000, Missing You has helped out in hundreds of cases in Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia. The organization is called for help in everything from child abductions and nonparental custody disputes to Alzheimer's patients and runaways.

Integral to the success of the organization is Missing You's imperative that they work in tandem with law enforcement. "We help search for missing people; we don't solve cases," Kramer says.

As far as Baby Kate is concerned, Jamie Jones knows the longer the wait, the less likely there will be a good outcome. Still, he is undeterred. "My feeling," he says, "is that she's alive and well. And until I find otherwise, we have 100 percent hope that she is coming home. She is out there somewhere; we just have to find her."


http://detnews.com/article/20110713/OPINION03/107130364/When-people-go-missing--families-turn-to-Missing-You-Foundation#ixzz1SpnsCD9q
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Re: KATHERINE "Baby Kate" PHILLIPS - 4 Months (6/2011) - Ludington (NW of Grand Rapids) MI

Post by twinkletoes on Mon Jul 25, 2011 1:04 pm

Psychoanalyst doubts reasoning for disappearance of Baby Kate given by mother

July 25, 2011

Psychoanalyst doubts reasoning for disappearance of Baby Kate given by mother

Baby
Kate missing since June 29, 2011 Please call the Mason Oceana dispatch
at 1-231-869-5858 or the Ludington Police Department at 1-231- 843-3425
with information

Nancy Grace brought attention to the case of Katherine
Shelbie-Elizabeth Phillips who is also known as “Baby Kate" on her July
22, 2011 HLN program. The now five month old infant has been missing
since June 29, 2011 after the man believed to be her biological father,
Sean Michael Phillips, drove off with her in his vehicle, leaving Kate’s
mother behind. The three were headed to a hospital where paternity
testing awaited Kate and her mom, Ariel Courtland. Courtland, 19, says
the goal was to prove that Sean Phillips, 21, was the Michigan infant’s
birth father so that a court order could be placed forcing him to pay
child support. Courtland has also told authorities that Phillips did
not want his parents to know the couple had another child.
Psychoanalyst Bethany Marshall spoke live on the Nancy Grace show and
addressed some of the reasons Phillips may have had for the abduction.
An Amber Alert was issued for Baby Kate and at this point, authorities
will not say whether they believe Kate is alive or dead.

Taking issue with the claim that Phillips was motivated by his
parents Bethany Marshall stated, “I don`t for one minute believe the
reason this happened is that he didn`t want to tell his parents. I
think he was just manipulating the mother of the baby.

“I think he had a desperate plan all along. He hoped he could give
the baby up for adoption, but I don`t really think that was the plan. I
think that there was desperation, a compulsion to commit homicide that
was building up because he did not want to pay for child support for
this baby for the rest of his life. And we know, a financial
incentive.”

http://www.examiner.com/amber-alerts-in-national/psychoanalyst-doubts-reasoning-for-disappearance-of-baby-kate-given-by-mother
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Re: KATHERINE "Baby Kate" PHILLIPS - 4 Months (6/2011) - Ludington (NW of Grand Rapids) MI

Post by twinkletoes on Thu Jul 28, 2011 8:52 am

Community continues to support search for Baby Kate

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

It’s been four weeks since infant Katherine “Kate” Phillips was last seen in a car outside of her mother’s Ludington apartment.Baby Kate would now be 5 months old. She has been missing since June 29 when she was last seen in the car of Sean Phillips outside of her mother’s apartment at Birch Lake Apartments, according to mother Ariel Courtland’s report to the Ludington Police Department.

A few hours later, Sean Phillips, who Courtland has said is the baby’s father, was located at his parents’ Millerton Road home without Kate. He has been lodged in the Mason County Jail on a kidnapping charge since then.

Ludington Police Chief Mark Barnett said tips are still trickling in on the case. Police are still looking for information on the whereabouts of Kate or of Sean Phillips on June 29.

Kate’s story has gotten attention across the country, which means tips have come in on Kate from much farther away than west Michigan.

In some situations, calls have come in saying a baby that looked like Kate was sighted out of the area the day, or days, before the caller made the tip.

But locating a baby after a tip comes in so long after the sighting is difficult.

“We’re following up when we have the ability,” Barnett said.

He urged anyone who may see the infant to contact the local police department immediately. For example, if someone thinks they see Kate out of town, to call that town’s police department immediately.

If local authorities receive an out-of-the-area tip, they can ask police in that area to follow up.

Locally, Barnett said police have reviewed surveillance tapes at businesses when tips have come in saying a baby that looked like Kate was spotted.

A reward fund has been established for information related to the case.

As of this morning $1,410 has been donated. Anyone wishing to donate toward the Silent Observer fund may send it to the Ludington & Scottville Area Chamber of Commerce, 5300 W. U.S. 10, Ludington, MI 49431. Include “Baby Katherine Reward Fund” on the memo line of the check.

Anyone with information about the whereabouts of the infant or of Sean Michael Phillips on June 29 is asked to contact Mason-Oceana 911 at (231) 869-5858.

To remain anonymous, call Silent Observer at 888-STOPCRIME (888-786-7274), visit WWW.LSOTIP.COM or text a tip and the code “LSOTIP” to 274637 (CRIMES).
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Re: KATHERINE "Baby Kate" PHILLIPS - 4 Months (6/2011) - Ludington (NW of Grand Rapids) MI

Post by kiwimom on Sat Jul 30, 2011 2:02 am

'I thought they'd find Kate next day'

Ariel Courtland still holds out hope for baby

Updated: Friday, 29 Jul 2011, 9:08 PM EDT
Published : Friday, 29 Jul 2011, 5:50 PM EDT



LUDINGTON, Mich. (WOOD) - Though it's been a month since her 4-month-old daughter, Katherine Phillips, disappeared, Ariel Courtland is holding out hope.
"I just want Kate home with me," Courtland told 24 Hour News 8 on Friday. "I had plans for her future."
The baby went missing, allegedly snatched by the man believed to be her father, Sean Michael Phillips, from outside Courtland's apartment just before he was to undergo a paternity test.
He's currently in jail, and is expected in court next week on a kidnapping charge.
"I
thought they'd find Kate like that day or the next day, definitely not
being a month later and still haven't found any leads, pretty much
nothing," she told 24 Hour News 8 on Friday. "They're still pretty much in the same spot they have been."
She said she's heard whispers and comments, some online and some to her face, about the case.
"To
me, I don't understand why there are people out there who are being so
negative towards me. There are people who are out there, I don't even
know them, being so mean to me, so hateful," she said. "My baby was
taken from me, and they're being hateful and just rude and mean. How
could you possibly think I had something to do with my daughter's
disappearance?"
24 Hour News 8 asked the Ludington Police Chief whether or not Ariel is believed to know baby Kate's whereabouts.
"I think what we have right now is one person charged and that's Sean Michael Phillips," Chief Mark Barnett said. "He's been charged with the information we've received and that's really all I'd say about that."
Courtland said, when she finds Kate, she'll take her two daughters and move away. She wants a fresh start for her family.
Sean
Phillips' kidnapping preliminary hearing scheduled for Wednesday. A
judge will determine whether there is enough evidence to send him to
trial.
24 Hour News 8 will continue to track this story.
http://www.woodtv.com/dpp/news/local/nw_mich/I-thought-theyd-find-Kate-next-dayis
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Re: KATHERINE "Baby Kate" PHILLIPS - 4 Months (6/2011) - Ludington (NW of Grand Rapids) MI

Post by Annabeth on Sat Jul 30, 2011 2:23 am

I was watching coverage of this on Nancy Grace and supposedly the father who is in jail, is just getting water and bread to eat, in the hopes he will say what happened to baby Kate....not sure if this is true but that is what I heard
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Re: KATHERINE "Baby Kate" PHILLIPS - 4 Months (6/2011) - Ludington (NW of Grand Rapids) MI

Post by kiwimom on Sat Jul 30, 2011 2:25 am

Thanks Annabeth. I wouldn't even give him that.
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Re: KATHERINE "Baby Kate" PHILLIPS - 4 Months (6/2011) - Ludington (NW of Grand Rapids) MI

Post by twinkletoes on Wed Aug 03, 2011 6:02 pm

Mother of missing Ludington baby testifies during court hearing; law enforcement officials to testify next

Published: Wednesday, August 03, 2011, 1:01 PM Updated: Wednesday, August 03, 2011, 1:50 PM

LUDINGTON — The mother of a 5-month-old Ludington baby missing since June 29
testified Wednesday that in the weeks before the baby allegedly was
abducted by her father, he urged her to give the baby up for adoption.

Sean Phillips

The preliminary examination of the alleged abductor, Sean Michael Phillips,
began Wednesday morning and was to include testimony from law
enforcement authorities who worked the case.
The infant, Katherine Shelbie-Elizabeth Phillips has been missing since June 29, when her
alleged abduction was reported by the infant's mother, Ariel Courtland, 19.
The court hearing was in Mason County 79th District Court before Judge Peter J. Wadel.
Courtland, questioned by Mason County Prosecutor Paul Spaniola and Phillips'
attorney, Annette Smedley, essentially said in the weeks before the baby
went missing, she and Phillips often argued about giving the child up for adoption.
While Courtland admitted that the two spoke about giving the child up for adoption,
she said in the end, it wasn't what she wanted.
Smedley said Courtland continued to call
Phillips, visit Phillips and even brought Phillips socks and money to
the jail since he's incarcerated, trying to prove that Courtland was in
agreement about the adoption and wanted it all along.
Courtland explained during cross examination that she visits Phillips, tells him
she loves him and says anything to get him to talk about what he did with "Kate."
“I was trying to get on his good side,” she said.

Ariel Courtland

The preliminary examination was continuing as of 1 p.m. The Chronicle will continue to update the story with new information.
Authorities say Phillips abducted the baby around 1 p.m. June 29 from the parking
lot of her mother's apartment complex in Ludington, but they have no
information as to what has happened with the baby since.
Phillips was arrested a few hours later at his parents' home, 280 Millerton, in
Victory Township about five miles north of Scottville, without the baby
in his care. Phillips refuses to tell anyone what happened with the
infant, but has told Courtland, when she visited him in jail, that the baby is alive, Courtland has said.
Phillips, charged with kidnapping and lodged in the Mason County Jail, has not cooperated with
authorities. The couple has a 3½-year-old daughter, Haley Phillips.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Mason-Oceana 911 at 231-869-5858.
Those wishing to provide information anonymously can call Silent Observer at
888-STOPCRIME (888-786-7274). Anonymous information can also be provided
at www.lsotip.com or by texting “LSOTIP and your tip to 274637 (CRIMES).
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Re: KATHERINE "Baby Kate" PHILLIPS - 4 Months (6/2011) - Ludington (NW of Grand Rapids) MI

Post by mermaid55 on Fri Aug 05, 2011 2:25 am

After hearing, baby's disappearance still mystery
Posted: Aug 04, 2011 5:03 AM
LUDINGTON, Mich. (AP) - A court hearing didn't offer answers about the whereabouts of a 5-month-old girl who has been missing since late June in western Michigan.

Sean Phillips was in a Ludington courtroom on Wednesday for a preliminary examination in the disappearance of Katherine Shelbie-Elizabeth Phillips, who last was seen in June 29. A judge ruled there was enough evidence for him to stand trial on a kidnapping charge.

The case now moves to Circuit Court in Mason County.

Defense lawyer Annette Smedley asked for lower bond, but the request was denied. The 21-year-old Phillips remains jailed.

Katherine lived with her mother, Ariel Courtland, at an apartment in Ludington, about 80 miles northwest of Grand Rapids. Phillips is believed to be the child's father.

Extensive searches haven't turned up the girl.

http://www.wnem.com/story/15207067/after-hearing-babys-disappearance-still-mystery
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Re: KATHERINE "Baby Kate" PHILLIPS - 4 Months (6/2011) - Ludington (NW of Grand Rapids) MI

Post by mermaid55 on Fri Aug 05, 2011 2:31 am

Preliminary hearing testimony provides new details, no answers about missing Baby Kate, the 5-month-old Ludington baby
Updated: Thursday, August 04, 2011, 12:24 PM
LUDINGTON — The mother of a Ludington baby missing since June 29 broke down on the witness stand Wednesday when asked to identify the clothing the 5-month-old was last seen wearing.
"I put them on her that morning," said 19-year-old Ariel Courtland, who wept while she testified during a preliminary hearing Wednesday in Mason County 79th District Court.
Clutching a tissue, Courtland was hesitant when asked to look inside the brown and pink diaper bag containing tiny infant diapers she had packed the morning Sean Michael Phillips, 21, drove off with Katherine Shelbie-Elizabeth Phillips.
Phillips now faces trial in Mason County 51st Circuit Court on a felony charge of kidnapping.
Authorities found the baby’s clothing, car seat and diaper bag with Phillips when he was taken into custody following Courtland’s 911 call.
Courtland said she tried to call Phillips as soon as she realized he had left with Baby Kate and wasn’t coming back.

Ariel Courtland
“I called Sean a lot. He just wasn’t answering the phone. It was going to voicemail,” she said.
Police testified the infant’s clothes were found in Phillips’ pants pocket. The car seat and diaper bag were found in the trunk of his car, which was parked at his parents' Millerton Road home in Mason County.
At that point, Phillips was “cuffed” and arrested,” police testified.
Courtland told police that Phillips had left with the infant from the parking lot of her apartment complex, 922 E. Tinkham, when she briefly exited her vehicle to retrieve a stroller.
That was all part of lengthy testimony during Phillips’ preliminary examination before Judge Peter J. Wadel Wednesday in Mason County 79th District Court.

Bound over
At the end of the nearly four-hour hearing, Wadel bound Phillips over to Mason County 51st Circuit Court on one count of kidnapping a child under 14, a felony punishable up to life or any term of years. His bond of $500,000 cash or surety was continued, and he remains lodged at the Mason County Jail.
Annette Smedley, Phillips’ court-appointed attorney, asked for Phillips’ bond to be reduced to a $10,000, 10 percent bond, but that was denied by the judge. She waived circuit court arraignment.
Phillips has no serious crimes on his record, she said, and is a member of the U.S. armed forces. “He’s not a threat to the community. He’s not a flight risk,” Smedley told the judge.
However, Mason County Prosecutor Paul Spaniola said his record includes a drunken driving conviction, and the case regarding the missing infant is “very serious.”
Phillips appeared in an orange jumpsuit, wearing a bullet-proof vest and had his head completely shaven. He occasionally took notes and spoke to his attorney throughout the hearing. He often looked at Courtland while she testified and appeared calm, and showed little emotion.
While those in the courtroom hoped to learn of the whereabouts of Baby Kate, who would be 5 months old now, many said they left the proceedings with more questions than answers.

Adoption for mother, not an option
Perhaps the biggest bombshell Wednesday came when Courtland admitted she and Phillips had discussed many times, and at length, about giving the infant up for adoption.
However, despite adoption paperwork partially filled out by the young couple — discovered in Courtland’s apartment after the alleged abduction — she adamantly denied having gone through with it.
Courtland, questioned by Spaniola and Smedley, said in the weeks before the baby went missing, even up to the day, Phillips had urged her to give the child up for adoption. Courtland said in the end, it wasn’t what she wanted.
“I didn’t want to and he knew I didn’t want to,” Courtland said.
“Sean told me if I didn’t put Kate up for adoption, he was going to take Haley and she would never see her again.” Haley Phillips is the couple’s 3 1/2-year-old daughter.
However, Smedley pointed out a voicemail from Courtland to Phillips on the evening of June 28, hours before the infant went missing, in which Courtland asks Phillips if he would want to “take Kate” that night because “after tomorrow it will be too late.”
Courtland didn’t deny leaving that voice mail and reiterated that, in the end, she didn’t want to give the infant up for adoption.
Smedley also questioned Courtland about her alleged devotion to Phillips. Smedley said Courtland continues to accept collect calls from Phillips, visits Phillips at the jail and even brought Phillips socks and money.
Courtland explained during cross examination that she visits Phillips, even tells him she loves him, and is willing to say anything to get him to talk about what he did with “Kate.”
“I was trying to get on his good side,” she said.
When questioned by Spaniola about her kind words to Phillips, Courtland said she hoped he would “talk.”
“I was hoping if I said something along the lines of me caring about him, he would talk. I was trying my own tactic. I was saying anything I can possibly say,” Courtland said. “I’m still desperate.”
Spaniola then asked her, “Would you do anything to get her back?”
“Yes,” Courtland replied.

Paternity test
Courtland said Phillips tried to convince her to give the baby up for adoption, and he didn’t want to get a paternity test that would prove to his parents, Larry and Kimberly Phillips of Victory Township, that that he fathered the child.
He allegedly had had his DNA test around noon that day at Memorial Medical Center in Ludington and an appointment to provide Baby Kate’s DNA was scheduled for 1 p.m.
Courtland testified that Phillips initially agreed to take them to the infant’s appointment in his vehicle, but instead took them to the Mason County Department of Human Services building in Ludington.
They argued there, and he eventually took her and the infant back to her apartment complex parking lot where she said she was going to get the baby’s stroller and walk the infant to the DNA test.
When she left the vehicle “for maybe three minutes,” and got the stroller from a storage unit, Courtland said Phillips had driven off with the infant.
She was left standing in the parking lot, holding the baby's pacifier, an officer testified.
Courtland called 911 shortly after from a friend’s phone because Courtland said her phone was still in Phillips’ vehicle when he left.
Ludington Police Department Officer Chad Skiba testified he was the first officer to have contact with Courtland following Courtland’s 911 call.

Sean Michael Phillips preliminary examination
After taking Courtland’s statement, Skiba later spoke to Phillips who returned a call that Skiba placed to him regarding the baby’s whereabouts.
Phillips told the officer he had been with Courtland that day, but the last “he had seen Katherine” was with Courtland, Skiba testified.
“Sean said they had driven to the (Department of Human Services) building and back to her apartment complex,” Skiba said. “They were going to have Katherine adopted out. Ariel didn’t want to adopt the child out.”
Skiba said he went back to talk to Courtland about his conversation with Phillips.
When Skiba told Courtland that Phillips was claiming she had the infant last, “she ran outside the front door (of her apartment) and threw up.”
Later that same day, other officers on the case felt they had sufficient reason to take Phillips into custody for additional questioning.

A nervous suspect
Ludington Police Officer Tony Kuster, who was on duty June 29, testified that he was asked to try and find Phillips after Courtland placed the 911 call, and eventually did so at his parents' home.
Kuster, accompanied by an assisting Mason County Sheriff’s Office deputy, said he observed Phillips standing outside is parents’ attached garage “pacing.” Kuster said when he asked Phillips if he knew where the infant was, Phillips referred to the infant as “it.”
“He said ‘it’ is with Ariel,” Kuster said.
During questioning around 3:45 p.m., Kuster said Phillips appeared extremely nervous and the deputy with him asked Phillips “to relax.”
Deputy Jordan Hartley said Phillips was "very, very nervous” and at one point assumed a “boxer stance” giving Hartley the impression Phillips might become confrontational.
“At that point, I asked him to relax and calm down and I was afraid he was going to hit (Kuster),” Hartley said.
Hartley said he then performed “a pat down” of Phillips and located Phillips’ cell phone and chewing tobacco and a “bulge in the right cargo pocket of his shorts.”
“I felt that. I asked him, ‘What’s this?’ He said, ‘It’s her clothes.’”
Phillips, who was part of the U.S. National Guard, was set to deploy to Afghanistan in August. He has continued his silence about what happened to the child.
Volunteers and authorities conducted dozens of searches, none of which turned up any information about the baby’s whereabouts, police have said. The investigation remains open, police said, and authorities are still hoping for new information from the public.

http://www.mlive.com/news/muskegon/index.ssf/2011/08/ready_to_edit_court_hearing_pr.html
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Re: KATHERINE "Baby Kate" PHILLIPS - 4 Months (6/2011) - Ludington (NW of Grand Rapids) MI

Post by twinkletoes on Fri Aug 19, 2011 11:43 pm

Baby Kate kidnapping hearing set for Sean Michael Phillips

Published: Friday, August 19, 2011, 6:05 PM

Kendra Stanley-Mills | ChronicleSean
Michael Phillips, 21, left, with his attorney Annette Smedley, right,
was bound over for trial during his preliminary examination on Aug. 3,
2011, at the Mason County Courthouse.

LUDINGTON — The Scottville-area man charged with kidnapping “Baby Kate,” the Ludington infant missing since June 29, has been scheduled for a pretrial hearing in Mason County 51st Circuit Court.

Sean Michael Phillips, 21, was scheduled Friday for a final conference hearing at 4 p.m. Oct. 11 before Circuit Judge Richard I. Cooper, according to court records. A trial date has not been set.

Phillips is charged with child kidnapping in the alleged abduction of then 5-month-old Katherine Shelbie-Elizabeth Phillips around 1 p.m. June 29 from her mother, Ariel Courtland, 19.

Courtland has said Phillips is the baby's father.

Authorities who caught up with Phillips on June 29 after Courtland called 911 said they recovered the child's clothing from Phillips' pants pocket. The baby's car seat and diaper bag were found in the trunk of Phillips' vehicle, police testified at his 79th District Court preliminary examination Aug. 3.

Authorities said they believe Phillips abducted the baby that day, but they have no information as to what has happened to the baby since.

Courtland testified that Phillips left with the infant from the parking lot of her apartment complex, 922 E. Tinkham, when she briefly exited her vehicle to retrieve a stroller. She said she was about to take the baby for a DNA test to establish Phillips' paternity.

Courtland said Phillips wanted to put the baby up for adoption, but she was unwilling.

Phillips, 21, was arrested a few hours after the reported abduction at his parents' home, 280 Millerton in Victory Township, about five miles north of Scottville, without the baby in his care.

Phillips has refused to tell anyone what happened to the infant, but Courtland has said Phillips told her the baby was alive when she visited him in jail.

He is being held on $500,000 bail in the Mason County Jail.


http://www.mlive.com/news/muskegon/index.ssf/2011/08/baby_kate_kidnapping_hearing_s.html
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Re: KATHERINE "Baby Kate" PHILLIPS - 4 Months (6/2011) - Ludington (NW of Grand Rapids) MI

Post by twinkletoes on Fri Aug 19, 2011 11:52 pm

I think Casey has taught baby killers nationwide how to respond when they get caught.
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Re: KATHERINE "Baby Kate" PHILLIPS - 4 Months (6/2011) - Ludington (NW of Grand Rapids) MI

Post by mermaid55 on Wed Sep 07, 2011 9:23 pm

Prosecutor challenging motion to dismiss charge against Sean Michael Phillips, charged with kidnapping 'Baby Kate' of Ludington
Published: Wednesday, September 07, 2011, 2:31 PM

LUDINGTON — Mason County's prosecutor said Wednesday that the "Baby Kate" kidnapping charge against Sean Michael Phillips should stand, despite a motion filed by his attorney last month that indicated a biological father can't be charged with kidnapping.
Prosecutor Paul Spaniola filed a “responsive brief” Wednesday, arguing against a motion filed by Phillips' attorney, Annette Smedley, to dismiss the case against her client, citing that the charge doesn't fit the alleged crime.
“I'm arguing that the charge is still viable,” Spaniola said, in a Chronicle interview. “(Phillips) was not the natural parent at the time the baby was taken.”
Results of a DNA test recently revealed that Phillips is the biological father of Katherine Shelbie-Elizabeth Phillips, who has been missing since June 29, allegedly last seen in the back seat of Phillips' vehicle, police said. The infant was nearly 5 months old at the time.
The motion hearing is slated for 1:30 p.m. Sept. 14 in Mason County Circuit Court.
Smedley said in her motion that under state law, the charge currently against Phillips, kidnapping of a child under 14, would no longer fit the crime.
Michigan's kidnapping law, under Section 350, states: "An adoptive or natural parent of the child shall not be charged with and convicted for a violation of this section." The charge carries a maximum penalty of imprisonment for life or any term of years.
Spaniola said he's arguing that the DNA results were not complete on June 29, when Phillips allegedly abducted the infant, and therefore he was not the “natural parent” at the time.
If the judge rules in favor of Smedley, however, Spaniola said he will ask the judge to consider alternative charges he will present at the hearing.
Such charges could include parental kidnapping, which carries a penalty of a year and a day in jail, or possibly unlawful imprisonment, a 15-year felony, Spaniola said.
Other charges could be considered as well, he said.
Phillips has already served nearly 2 1/2 months in the Mason County Jail, where he has been lodged since the child's disappearance. Authorities say he has refused to tell anyone about the whereabouts of the baby.
Authorities caught up with Phillips at his parents' home in Mason County's Victory Township, near Scottville, the same day the infant went missing — a couple hours after the baby's mother, Ariel Courtland, called 911.
Spaniola reiterated on Wednesday that Courtland is not considered a suspect.
The baby's clothing was found in Phillips' pants pockets by authorities who questioned him outside his parents' home. Her car seat and diaper bag were found in the trunk of Phillips' vehicle, but he denied knowing what had happened to the baby, police said.
Courtland testified earlier this month at Phillips' preliminary examination that the couple had discussed giving the baby up for adoption, but in the end, she didn't want to do that, which angered Phillips.
The couple argued in the parking lot of her Ludington apartment complex about the baby, and when she went to retrieve a stroller from her apartment, Phillips drove off with the baby, and that's the last time she saw her, Courtland testified.
Phillips — already jointly raising the couple's 3 1/2-year-old daughter, Haley, and preparing to be deployed to Afghanistan in August — also didn't want to tell his parents about the new baby, she said.
Phillips is a member of the Michigan Army National Guard's 125th Infantry Battalion based in Flint.

http://www.mlive.com/news/muskegon/index.ssf/2011/09/ready_to_edit_mason_county_pro.html
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Re: KATHERINE "Baby Kate" PHILLIPS - 4 Months (6/2011) - Ludington (NW of Grand Rapids) MI

Post by kiwimom on Wed Sep 14, 2011 10:40 pm

September 14th, 2011
LUDINGTON, Mich. (WZZM)-- The man charged in the kidnapping of a missing Ludington girl is now facing new charges.

Sean Phillips, 21, is accused of abducting baby Katherine Phillips
outside her mother's Ludington apartment on June 29. At the time
Phillips denied he was the child's father, but a paternity test proved
he is.

Wednesday, a judge threw out the charge of kidnapping against
Phillips. His attorney argued it did not apply since he is Kate's
father. Phillips now faces new charges of parental kidnapping and
unlawful imprisonment. The judge set his bond at $250,000.

Despite several searches in Mason County, there are few clues to baby Kate's whereabouts.

http://www.wzzm13.com/news/article/179092/14/Father-faces-new-charges-in-missing-baby-case
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Re: KATHERINE "Baby Kate" PHILLIPS - 4 Months (6/2011) - Ludington (NW of Grand Rapids) MI

Post by ladibug on Thu Sep 15, 2011 12:50 am

Crying or Very sad IMO there would be no reason whatsoever to remove the baby's clothes except to make it harder to find and identify her remains. The mother did not say there was another outfit packed in the bag that was now missing. And the original kidnapping charge should stand since he denied the baby was his - he literally stole someone else child. So very sad.
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Re: KATHERINE "Baby Kate" PHILLIPS - 4 Months (6/2011) - Ludington (NW of Grand Rapids) MI

Post by TomTerrific0420 on Thu Oct 13, 2011 8:05 pm

A Mason County man charged in the kidnapping of his missing infant
daughter is rejecting a plea deal offered by prosecutors, sending his
case to trial.
Sean Phillips, 21, appeared in Mason County Circuit Court Tuesday for
a pre-trial conference. Our partner, the Ludington Daily News, is
reporting Phillips turned down a plea deal offered by prosecutors.

Paul Spaniola, the Mason County Prosecutor, tells WZZM 13 News he
offered to have Phillips plead guilty to one of the charges he faces as
long as he met certain conditions, though Spaniola would not say what
those conditions were.

Phillips is charged with parental kidnapping and unlawful
imprisonment. Prosecutors say he kidnapped his daughter Katherine on
July 29 after a disagreement with the baby's mother.

Baby Kate is still missing. She was four months old when she disappeared.

Phillips first faced a regular kidnapping charge, but his attorney
last month successfully argued he should not face that charge because he
was the child's father.

No trial date has been set.
http://www.wzzm13.com/news/article/182255/14/Sean-Phillips-rejects-plea-deal-will-stand-trial
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Re: KATHERINE "Baby Kate" PHILLIPS - 4 Months (6/2011) - Ludington (NW of Grand Rapids) MI

Post by mermaid55 on Thu Nov 03, 2011 1:41 pm

Trial Date Set In West Michigan Missing Baby Case
Katherine Shelbie-Elizabeth Phillips Was 4 1/2 Months Old When She Was last Seen June 29
POSTED: Thursday, November 3, 2011

LUDINGTON, Mich. -- A trial date has been set for the father of a baby who has been missing since June in western Michigan.
The Ludington Daily News reported 21-year-old Sean Phillips' trial on unlawful imprisonment and parental kidnapping charges has been scheduled to start Jan. 17 in Ludington.
The Scottville man is jailed on $250,000 bond. He rejected a plea deal in the case last month. The charges carry up to 15 years' imprisonment.
Katherine Shelbie-Elizabeth Phillips was 4 1/2 months old when she last was seen June 29 with Phillips. Katherine lived with her mother Ariel Courtland at an apartment in Ludington, about 80 miles northwest of Grand Rapids.
Extensive searches haven't turned up the girl.

http://www.clickondetroit.com/news/29672399/detail.html
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Re: KATHERINE "Baby Kate" PHILLIPS - 4 Months (6/2011) - Ludington (NW of Grand Rapids) MI

Post by TomTerrific0420 on Thu Nov 03, 2011 4:10 pm

Based on the length of time since the abduction and the fact that a suspect is in custody and on trial I am electing to move this from the Amber Alert page to Missing Children.
I am afraid that this little baby may no longer be alive.
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Re: KATHERINE "Baby Kate" PHILLIPS - 4 Months (6/2011) - Ludington (NW of Grand Rapids) MI

Post by kiwimom on Thu Nov 17, 2011 11:23 pm

SPECIAL REPORT: The Case of Missing Baby Kate - Part 3 of 4
Posted On: 11/10/2011

It'sbeen months since Ariel Courtland - the mother of missing infant
Katherine Phillips - has spoken about the disappearance of her daughter,
until now.

She sat down with 9&10 News to explain her side of the story -
including taking on accusations that she was involved with Kate's
disappearance and the people who use social media to trash her to
dissect her life.

Sean Phillips - the father of Kate and Ariel's boyfriend - is in jail awaiting trial on unlawful imprisonment charges.

Video at link: http://www.9and10news.com/Category/Story/?id=309682&cID=1
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Re: KATHERINE "Baby Kate" PHILLIPS - 4 Months (6/2011) - Ludington (NW of Grand Rapids) MI

Post by kiwimom on Mon Dec 05, 2011 1:38 am

Missing Baby Kate Update -- Anonymous Donation for Family

December 04, 2011 07:25 AM EST

Baby Kate vanished several months before Kansas City infant
Lisa Irwin captivated America, and her case is still unsolved. Now, a
new update has come up in the missing child's case in the form of an
anonymous donation.

Sources are reporting that the family of missing
baby Kate Phillips have received an anonymous donation of $6,000.
Apparently the money is to be used toward finding the missing infant.
Kate went missing at the end of June when she was allegedly abducted by her
own father. She was four-months old at the time, and hasn't been seen
since. The most tragic part in all of this, aside from her not being
found, is that her own father is refusing to cooperate with detectives.
He remains in jail in connection with her kidnapping, since the mother
claims he drove away with the child.
Family members are hopeful
that the missing baby is alive and well somewhere, being taken care of
by people who care about her. However, statistically speaking, this may
not be the case. It's been reported that
Sean Phillips did not want little Kate, and had tried to convince the
child's mother to give her up for adoption several times. Could he have
done something with the child because of this?
http://news.gather.com/viewArticle.action?articleId=281474980854919
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Re: KATHERINE "Baby Kate" PHILLIPS - 4 Months (6/2011) - Ludington (NW of Grand Rapids) MI

Post by twinkletoes on Thu Jan 05, 2012 9:40 pm

'Baby Kate' kidnapping trial of Sean Michael Phillips postponed

Thursday, January 05, 2012, 3:52 PM

By John S. Hausman | Muskegon Chronicle

The trial for Sean Michael Phillips, accused of kidnapping his still-missing infant daughter "Baby Kate" in Ludington, has been adjourned from Jan. 17.

No new date has been set for the trial.

Mason County Prosecutor Paul Spaniola announced the postponement Thursday after an inquiry from The Muskegon Chronicle but did not state a reason.

He declined to answer questions.

Phillips' attorney, Annette Smedley, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Phillips, 21, of 280 W. Millerton, Victory Township, is charged with one count of unlawful imprisonment, punishable by up to 15 years in prison, and one count of parental kidnapping, punishable by up to a year and a day in jail.

The Mason County Sheriff's Department and the Ludington Police Department are still soliciting tips on the whereabouts of Sean Phillips and Katherine Phillips on the afternoon of June 29 and any information on the baby's current whereabouts.

Any tip should be called to 231-869-5858.

Phillips has been lodged in the Mason County Jail since the day Katherine Shelbie-Elizabeth Phillips, then nearly 5 months, went missing June 29.

He is being held in lieu of a $250,000 cash or surety bond. The infant is Phillips' biological child.

A previous kidnapping charge, a life felony, was dismissed earlier by a circuit court judge because Michigan law does not permit that charge against a parent.

Baby Kate's clothing was found in Phillips' pants pocket when authorities questioned him at his parents' home, hours after the infant's mother, Ariel Courtland, 19, called 911 to report her child missing. The infant's car seat and diaper bag were found in Phillips' vehicle trunk.

Katherine Shelbie-Elizabeth Phillips

Earlier, the couple had been arguing in Phillips' vehicle with the baby in the back seat on June 29 in the parking lot of Courtland's Ludington apartment complex, police have said. When Courtland briefly exited the vehicle to get a stroller from her apartment and then returned to the parking lot, Phillips drove off with the infant, police have said.

The couple had been involved in an ongoing disagreement about whether the baby should be given up for adoption, authorities have said. Phillips wanted to, Courtland didn't, she has testified.

Authorities have repeatedly said Courtland is not a suspect and she continues to cooperate with investigators in an effort to locate her daughter.

http://www.mlive.com/news/muskegon/index.ssf/2012/01/baby_kate_trial_of_sean_michae.html
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Re: KATHERINE "Baby Kate" PHILLIPS - 4 Months (6/2011) - Ludington (NW of Grand Rapids) MI

Post by TomTerrific0420 on Sat Jan 07, 2012 1:29 pm

http://www.ludingtondailynews.com/news/62976-baby-kates-family-friends-to-celebrate-birthday

Ariel Courtland wants to celebrate her baby Kate Phillips’ birthday.

Kate would be 1 on Feb. 12.

Ariel hasn’t seen the child since last June when she went missing, last seen in the car with Kate’s father, Sean Phillips, Ariel has testified. Sean is now in jail awaiting trial on a charge of kidnapping, a trial that has been postponed.



Ariel wants to have support on the weekend of Feb. 12, a time she knows will be particularly difficult.

“It’s about celebrating Kate, her life, and the fact that I gave birth to her a year ago,” she said.

She wants her 4-year-old daughter Haley to be able to celebrate as well.

At their apartment, Haley plays with her cat, Animal, which Ariel said her little girl saw and asked for last July after the baby’s disappearance and Sean’s arrest.

“I couldn’t say no to her,” Ariel said.

The cat is now a comfort to Courtland as well. When Haley is not around, he follows Ariel.

Ariel learned Thursday morning the trial would be postponed, and she wasn’t happy about it.

“I was waiting for this to be over,” she said.

She still believes it’s possible Kate could still be alive.

“We all continue to hope and pray Kate will be there to join us,” she said of the celebration planned for the weekend of Kate’s birthday.

As plans for the gathering are set, Ariel will share the time, date and place, hoping people will come and show their love and prayers.

As a mother, she wants to do something for her baby.

Getting through

When Kate went missing, Ariel was new in her apartment, having lived there just two weeks.

With baby Kate, and Haley, then 3, and a job, she hadn’t had time to decorate her apartment. Then after Kate’s disappearance, she wasn’t up to it.

Since the fall, though, she’s started putting up pictures on her walls, including one wall completely devoted to Kate.

There are also pictures of Haley and some of her brother and sister, who both died in the year prior to Kate’s disappearance.

Making life more difficult are those who harass her, blaming her publicly for the baby’s disappearance.

What Ariel doesn’t want during the party celebrating Kate is negativity.

“It’s not about them,” Ariel said of those who seek the spotlight with unkind words and gestures.

Law enforcement officers have said Courtland is not a suspect in the case, but there have been some people who have publicly stated they believe she should be, creating Facebook pages and posting statements about her on them, calling her, driving by her home and more.

Ariel filed for and received a personal protection order against one woman. Since the PPO has been in place, the situation has calmed down, she said.

“I’m just trying to live my life and get through this tragedy the best I can,” she said.

Getting through, for the most part, means raising Haley and counting on the support of friends and family.

She didn’t appreciate the Christmas Eve call from the woman she now has a PPO against, Ariel said, “making the holidays harder than they needed to be.”

Ariel is grateful for support and tries not to ask too much of those who care about her.

“Kate was theirs, too,” she said. “It’s hard for them. They’re grieving, too.”

The case

Ariel and Sean argued the day Kate went missing, June 29. They were all three in the car together, Ariel said, and were scheduled to go to Memorial Medical Center near her apartment for a paternity test when the argument began. Sean didn’t want to go, she said.

He pulled into her apartment complex on Tinkham Avenue and she got out to go get something and was planning to walk Kate over to the hospital by herself, she has said.

It was about 1 p.m. and Kate was in the backseat of Sean’s 1998 Oldsmobile Intrigue.

When Ariel came back outside, the vehicle, Sean and Kate were gone. She hasn’t seen Kate since then.

Police located Sean at his parents’ Millerton Road home a few hours after Kate was reported missing and they found her car seat and diaper bag in Sean’s car and found the clothing she was reportedly wearing that day in his pocket.

Sean was arrested and originally faced charges of kidnapping/child enticement. Those charges were later reduced to charges of parental kidnapping and unlawful imprisonment after authorities learned from paternity testing done after Sean was incarcerated that Sean is Kate’s father.

Shortly after being taken into custody, Sean requested a lawyer and has not spoken with investigators, invoking his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent.
Police are still seeking information on Sean’s whereabouts between 1 and 4 p.m. June 29.
Police conducted searches near the home of Sean Phillips’ family and other areas as tips came in from the public, and Ariel’s family members also organized their own searches.


Last edited by TomTerrific0420 on Thu Apr 19, 2012 4:09 am; edited 2 times in total
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Re: KATHERINE "Baby Kate" PHILLIPS - 4 Months (6/2011) - Ludington (NW of Grand Rapids) MI

Post by mermaid55 on Wed Jan 18, 2012 3:05 pm

Baby Kate abduction trial reset

6:52 AM, Jan 13, 2012

LUDINGTON, Mich. (AP) -- The trial of a West Michigan father in the disappearance of his baby daughter has been rescheduled for next month.

The Muskegon Chronicle reports 21-year-old Sean Phillips of Victory Township is scheduled to go on trial Feb. 22 in Mason County Circuit Court in Ludington. The charges are unlawful imprisonment and parental kidnapping.

A Jan. 17 trial date earlier was postponed.

Defense lawyer Annette R. Smedley says there has been "absolutely no plea negotiation" in the case.

Katherine Phillips was 4 1/2 months old when she last was seen June 29, 2011, with Phillips. Katherine lived with her mother Ariel Courtland at an apartment in Ludington, about 80 miles northwest of Grand Rapids.

Extensive searches haven't turned up the girl.

http://www.wzzm13.com/news/regional/194277/5/Baby-Kate-abduction-trial-reset
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Re: KATHERINE "Baby Kate" PHILLIPS - 4 Months (6/2011) - Ludington (NW of Grand Rapids) MI

Post by TomTerrific0420 on Thu Apr 05, 2012 1:19 pm

He is the man being held for the disappearance of Baby Kate in
Ludington, but prosecutors have had to drop more charges against Sean
Phillips as his trial approaches
. Sean Phillips is being held on a quarter-million dollars bond,
still charged with unlawful imprisonment, a 15-year felony. The
prosecutor had already been forced to drop a kidnapping charge because
DNA tests showed he was the child’s biological father.

Now he has dropped parental kidnapping and custodial interference
charges too. His trial begins on the 16th. It’s been 9-months since he
drove off with Baby Kate, and she has not been seen since.
http://wtvbam.com/news/articles/2012/apr/05/more-charges-dropped-in-missing-infant-case/
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Re: KATHERINE "Baby Kate" PHILLIPS - 4 Months (6/2011) - Ludington (NW of Grand Rapids) MI

Post by TomTerrific0420 on Tue Apr 17, 2012 2:21 am

A jury has been seated in the Mason County trial against Sean Phillips,
charged with secret confinement in the case of missing baby Kate. The child was 4 1/2 months old when she was reported missing last June.
The voir dire had been expected to continue into Tuesday but now the trial itself can begin Tuesday morning.

http://www.ludingtondailynews.com/news/64865-jury-in-place-for-sean-phillips-missing-baby-kate-trial
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