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Charges Reduced For Father In Missing Baby Case

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Sean Phillips (credit: Ludington Police Dept.)

Sean Phillips (credit: Ludington Police Dept.)

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LUDINGTON (WWJ/AP) - The father of a baby who has been missing since June in western Michigan is facing reduced charges in her disappearance.

A judge on Wednesday dismissed a kidnapping charge filed against 21-year-old Sean Phillips. He’s jailed on $250,000 bond and scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday on charges of parental kidnapping and unlawful imprisonment.

Phillips now faces up to 15 years in prison instead of a possible life sentence.

Phillips’ lawyer argued his client was the father of Katherine Phillips and couldn’t be convicted of kidnapping under state law.

Katherine was 4-months-old when she last was seen June 29 with Phillips. Katherine lived with her mother, 19-year-old Ariel Courtland, at an apartment in Ludington, about 80 miles northwest of Grand Rapids.

katherine phillips e1309428674610 Charges Reduced For Father In Missing Baby Case

Katherine Phillips (Courtesy: Ludington Police Department)

Courtland said her daughter was in the car when Phillips drove off from her apartment. The baby was not with Phillips when he was arrested at his parent’s house, a short time after an Amber Alert was issued for Katherine.

Courtland has said Phillips indicated to her Katherine is still alive, although he would not say more.

Extensive searches still haven’t turned up the girl, although police have located the clothing she was last seen wearing.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Mason-Oceana 911 at 231-869-5858. Persons wishing to provide information anonymously can call Silent Observer at 888-786-7274.  Anonymous information can also be provided at www.lsotip.com or by texting “LSOTIP” and your tip to 274637.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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