Katherine Shelbie Elizabeth PhillipsKatherine Shelbie Elizabeth Phillips

Date of Birth: February 12, 2011

White Female

Height: 2’0”     Weight: 12 lbs

Hair: Light Brown     Eyes: Blue

Missing: June 29, 2011     From: Ludington, MI

Last seen wearing pink shorts and a pink tank top with black and pink flowers.


Sean Phillips

25 years old

Height: 5’9”        Weight: 180 lbs

Hair: Brown       Eyes: Blue

Silver Oldsmobile, Michigan Plates BUY0298

 Ariel Courtland

On June 29, 2011 at approximately 1:15 PM, Katherine Shelbie Elizabeth Phillips was abducted by her biological father from her home at 922 E Tinkham Road, in Ludington, MI and has not been seen since.

At approximately 1:00 PM, Sean Phillips and Ariel Courtland, Baby Kate’s and 3 year old Haley’s parents, were outside Ariel’s home.  Notable, Phillips’ has no custody rights with either girl.  The two were getting into Phillips’ vehicle to go have a paternity test done to confirm Phillips’ was indeed Kate’s biological father, court records later showed he is indeed that father of Baby Kate, when they got into an argument.  It isn’t confirmed what the argument was about, but it is believed that Phillips’ was not wanting to tell his parents he had another child.  He did not believe Kate was his daughter, but had discussed putting her up for adoption with Kate’s mother, Courtland.  Courtland ultimately decided she did not want to put her daughter up for adoption.  At some point during the argument, Courtland ran into her house to quickly grab something and when she returned, she found Phillips had left with Baby Kate.

An Amber Alert was issued at 10:00 PM that evening, something Ludington Police Chief Mark Barnett admitted was not done quickly enough.

On Wednesday afternoon, Chris Merriman spotted Phillips’ car on a private road near his home.  Police spent much of Thursday searching the wooded area around the private road to no avail.

Phillips was apprehended Scottville in Mason County, but no longer had Kate.  What police did find were Kate’s clothes in Phillips’ pants pocket, and her car seat and diaper bag in his trunk.  Phillips’ refuses to say where Kate is and remains uncooperative.  He even refers to Baby Kate is ‘it’.

Phillips’ originally faced charges of kidnapping and was held on a $500, 000.00 bond.  The charge of kidnapping against Phillip’s was thrown out when it was confirmed he was Kate’s biological father.  He now faces new charges of parental kidnapping and unlawful imprisonment with a bond set at $250, 000.00.  Phillips’ rejected a plea bargain which has sent the case to trial.  If convicted, Phillips faces up to 15 years in prison.

Police are still looking for Courtland’s cell phone, a black HTC with purple trim, which was in the vehicle with Phillips and may contain important information in the case.

According to Ludington Police, the reward fund for Baby Kate received an anonymous donation for $5,000.00 now bringing the entire reward fund to $6,648.00. 


Phillips’ trial has been adjourned from January 17th, 2012.  No new trial date has been set.

As of February 20, 2012 – Phillips’ trial as yet again been postponed.  There has been no new trial date set as of yet.

APRIL 18, 2012 – On Monday April 16, 2012, jury selection began in the trial of Sean Phillips.  Once the trial gets underway, it is expected to last about two weeks.  If Phillips is convicted on the charges against him, he faces up to 15 years in prison.  There still has been no news in the disappearance of Baby Kate.  One can hope that with the trial of the man who knows what fate fell Baby Kate, the truth will come out and allow all involved to have closure.

Sean Phillips

UPDATE 02.04.2013

In April of 2012, Phillips was convicted of false imprisonment and was sentenced to ten to fifteen years in prison.

Kate’s disappearance is being investigated as a homicide say authorities.  After Phillip’s conviction, he allegedly wrote a letter to Courtland that was leaked to the media in September 2012, stating he had accidentally killed their child.  That same month, Courtland filed for a license to marry Phillips.  She claims she is not doing it for love, but thought it might help her to find out what happened to Kate.  At the present time, Courtland is not allowed to visit Phillips in prison because legally she is a victim of his.  Authorities have not yet decided whether or not they will be filing additional charges against Phillips.

Following is the letter allegedly written by Phillips to Courtland, it has been transcribed as accurately as possible by 24 Hour News 8.


This is what you want, ok. I always felt that I needed to do this in person. That you deserved that, and that we would both need each other for that.
Also didn’t feel safe writing these things anyways. Still dont, but this can’t wait any longer.
I think I could even make it though talking about that day here now.
I cry trying to talk about much less. I just wanted to leave that day Ariel. I was surprised when you opened my door and that you could have even made it down there fast enough to catch me. That and almost everything I don’t think I need to say or do you actually believe the shit you told them?

When I brought you back I didn’t park, so that you would just get out and not pull any more shit to try to keep me there longer. Even when you sat there with the door open and foot out and I had to interrupt you three times with “I don’t care” before you got out. You said something like “whatever fuck you” and “I’m gonna ruin your life” then walked around and spent a minute getting Kate out.

I was pretending to be busy why my phone or something so you would hopefully just leave me alone. Heard the door shut, saw you walk off. Your hands in front of you not on your sides. Like you were holding Kate. I drove away. A blonde lady by the office and I looked at each other as I passed.

There was some stuff I wanted to get done in town but I was tired and hung over and trying to decide whether to put it off till another time. Stopped at Wendy’s to get something to eat and for time to make up my mind, but mostly to piss.
The phone kept ringing there. I went back to the car and ate. The whole time that fucking phone wouldn’t stop ringing. I could feel through my shorts to hit the volume button to silence a call, but the seat was too far up for me to get it out of my pocket to make it stop ringing because the car seat was in the way. It was driving me crazy and I was so mad at you. For that day for everything lately, for everything ever maybe ever.

When I tried to move the seat back to get the phone it was blocked by that car seat and I was pissed that you left it in there just to try to make me bring it back later. So pissed that I got out and was going to just throw it out into that area between Burger King.
I pulled but it was jammed between the seats. That just made it worse. I grabbed it at the top and ripped it out as hard as I could. She was thrown from it. I didn’t know. I’m so sorry.

Held her for a long time. Seemed like forever. Maybe an hour, maybe a minute. Might not have been long. I can’t explain a lot. Some things can only be lived. In a way I couldn’t understand it. It didn’t seem real. I didn’t want it to be. It felt like falling, and like my head would explode. Couldn’t think. Couldn’t do anything. It eventually sunk in or something. I started crying. Couldn’t stop. I’ve never cried that hard, seemed like my throat was closing. Mind was racing, yet I couldn’t think. I guess I was in shock. I never even tried to help her. Never even thought to. Just sat there, holding her. I don’t think anything could have been done.

Still I used to hate myself for not trying. Think I was there an hour and that after like a half hour and that it wasn’t till right before I left that I realized calling 911. It was to late. I wouldn’t be able to talk. I wouldn’t know what to say anyways. I couldn’t bring myself to pick up that phone. Scared of it and of the world. In a way I felt like it had killed her. You and it. I needed to believe I didn’t hurt her that it was all your fault.
That sounds wrong, but I can’t explain it right. A part of me knew I was losing Haley too. When I realized how long I must have been there seemed like even less of an option. I never decided to leave or anything. There was this urge or something I can’t explain. Needed to get away from there or just do something, anything.

I drove, not to anywhere or for any reason. Just drove. A few things I suddenly realized I was driving, but couldn’t remember how I came to be or where I was. Almost crashed twice. The second time I stopped and pulled off the road. I needed out of that car, and I just walked off. After a while I stopped.
For the first time I could think some. Thought about Kate. Her smile, the way she looks around. Everything, what should have been. Id held her all this time, couldn’t bring myself to really look at her though I did now. I wanted to kill you. I cried. I cried until I somehow

couldn’t anymore. She was set in a peaceful place. I was walking and lost. Couldn’t breath hardly.
Thought about sitting down and waiting to die of dehydration. Felt close. Then I was driving and for the first time I realized I had left her. I wanted to die. Couldn’t bring myself to crash but didn’t try not to . No seatbelt, paying no attention. Almost did once, instinct or whatever made me save it. Another time I almost hit another car. After that I drove normal, couldn’t bear the thought of hurting anyone else while trying to hurt myself.
Then I was close to home and drying of thirst. Tried to detach myself. Already was in some way.

Went home to be alone and to get a drink. Stood in the middle of my room. Was still there for a while thought about taking my gun and leaving. Me, not you anymore. Wanted to go to you but I wasn’t ready for that.

My mom bothered me about the phone again and I knew I had to return the call. I just needed to be alone. I wasn’t ready to talk to anyone. Just said you should have her. Its true. Only wanted them to go away, when that didn’t happen I thought I had just committed to that story. That to change it would throw away any chance I had. That they would never believe me because of it being that day. And never believe how she came to be left there. Also figured it a reasonable story.

I didn’t think they could keep me for more than a couple days at the most. That didn’t happen. When I met Annette I begged to talk to you alone. They said no. Paul made it clear he doesn’t give a shit about me or Kate or you. They weren’t willing to let me talk to them not that I would. I needed you. Not Tom Posma in a cold room on video. They even tried everything to keep me from talking to you about that day. I didn’t accept that I wasn’t getting out and getting to talk to you till about 2 weeks + in.

After the first couple days it had seemed harder to do the right thing. I expected to be let out after the prelim. It crushed me. Like you just implied that you really don’t give a fuck about Kate, only who does and does not get in trouble. And right before that I got Kenny, April dads interviews. They all said you don’t act like your child is missing or anything.

Then you were always trying to get recordings for court and saying stupid shit on phones. At that point I wanted you to go to prison.

Before then, I’m sorry I lied about Kate being ok. I wanted to tell you the truth so bad, to hold you, to be held. I said that because I thought you would do something then. Couldn’t believe you wouldn’t just get me the fuck out or make them allow us to talk.

For a long time blocked that day and Kate from my mind. Almost refused to acknowledge it to myself. Eventually I thought I would just never tell you what happened. It had already been so long w/o me being able to. That changed. The day I was found innocent I was going to go to you.

It was a long time before I started thinking about her and that day. The nightmares, panic attacks, nothing would get better. Think about it all was horrible, but it has helped. I use to hear my heart racing and almost collapse just from seeing a picture of her. I can smile now. I can remember her the way you do, and not another way as well.

I don’t’ think you could ever understand. Some things I don’t completely. I never decided to pick her up. Never decided to call or not call 911, or to leave, or to set her down. It was like I was watching these things, not doing them, not sure what I’m seeing.

The only time I thought and anything was ? was when I was standing outside and then from when I almost hit that car. I wasn’t dumping a body, wasn’t like that at all. I want her buried too. I don’t know where she was left. Some idea. Feel like I could get there. No, its not some fucking swamp or lake. I know if they had left me alone I would have came to you that day.

I was thrown into the worst possible thing at the worst possible time. Everything just happened, and I never had the chance to do the right thing.

There’s been other letters to you. Ones that never were sent. Oddly this one has done the worst of all in telling you, yet its the one Im making myself send. If I don’t again then when? There will never be one I feel right with. These things mostly need to be talked about in person. Annette has the original, tear soaked one. Addressed to you, only it includes that lie about me thinking you could have possibly killed her.

Theres still a lot things I don’t understand. 90% of the things you told them were lies. Some things I don’t know if it was me or them you lied to them some other things. At the time it was something how you used her and acted a lot of the time like you could give a fuck less about her.

How you kept dragging out the adoption, which would just make it harder on her. Couldn’t believe you wanted to do that test before finishing the adoption that day, just to make me pay. I never once thought you had any intention whatsoever of keeping her.

Still don’t know why so many of the things you did said or whatever. Blamed for so long. Theres so many stupid little things that could have made such a difference. things as small as a phone call or using the bathroom.

Both of us fucked up some. Id give anything to go back. To that day, January, the summer I went to Georgia.

I want my parents to know. Things spouses tell each other is confidence cant be made to testify. But we aren’t married yet in the eyes of the government. Then hearsay cant be used, so if you told then it would be hearsay as it didnt come from me. But Grand Jury can sometimes allow hearsay. Could you ask your attorney about that stuff? If you want to ask me things try to do it all at once. So we arent hearing incriminating stuff more than we need to.

Out of time for mail. Destroy theses. We’ll talk.

There was also a note allegedly found by a guard in Phillips pocket that read:

‘I gave her to a guy, along with a list of families that are adopting (addresses).  He was to take her to one and they would report that the baby was left on their doorstep but that they wish to keep it.  Go on Parentprofiles.com and get contact info for families in the region.  Hopefully the profile is still up.  If not, then I can find contact info I have when I get out.”

No further information has been released in Kate’s disappearance.  We will continue to follow this case until Kate is found.

Katherine Shelbie Elizabeth Phillips

Katherine Shelbie Elizabeth Phillips

UPDATE OCTOBER 14, 2013 – Phillips has now facing an open murder charge for the murder of his daughter, Baby Kate.  Mason County Prosecutor Paul Spaniola has stated “This continuing investigation has included review of biological evidence, site visits, and the enlistment of experts from all over the world who are preeminent in their fields.”  It is being stated that new evidence has turned up that support the murder charge.  What the charge essentially means is that the jury can deliberate both first and second degree murder charges and can carry a life sentence if convicted.

It is being reported that extensive analysis of the biological material and soil on Phillips’ shoes, has narrowed down the probable location of the baby girl to a specific wetland area in Mason County, Michigan, although the size or the location of the wetland has not been specified.  This coming after a massive volunteer effort was launched, scouring the areas of northern Mason County, collecting samples of the plants and mosses in the area, in the hopes of making a connection with Phillips.

Rest assured I will keep you all updated, Lord knows, it is time we find justice for Kate and bring her home.

UPDATED NOVEMBER 12, 2013 ~ Sean Phillip’s preliminary examination has once again been delayed, this time being rescheduled on January 9, 2014. We will continue to follow this case.

UPDATED JANUARY 9, 2014 – Sean Phillip’s preliminary examination is yet again delayed by request of the defense.  The new court date is set for April 3 and 4 of 2014.  We will continue to post updates as we receive them.


If you have any information regarding the disappearance of Katherine Shelbie Elizabeth Phillips, please immediately contact the Ludington Police Department at:



The National Center For Missing & Exploited Children at:



~ by LTWH on November 17, 2011.


  1. There are no words to convey how appalling this child’s life, albeit, very short, so tragically ended, with no remorse, whatsoever, that I see from reading this letter! How an individual can do this to an innocent child is beyond my comprehension! I only pray this precious child did not suffer long at the hands of this monster, God certainly has her in his keeping now, although a second of suffering is too long for an innocent, precious baby such as Katherine! Rest in peace, now Katherine! God has you and no more monsters can get to you ever again!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: