LUDINGTON (WWJ/AP) – Prosecutors are dropping one of two charges against a West Michigan father in the disappearance of his baby daughter.

Prosecutors this week said they were dropping a parental kidnapping charge against 21-year-old Sean Phillips of Victory Township. The 15-year felony charge against Phillips, secret confinement (also known as unlawful imprisonment), still stands

Prosecutors say the decision was a strategic move ahead of trial, which is set to begin April 16 in Mason County Circuit Court in Ludington.

katherine phillips e1309428674610 Prosecutors Drop Parental Kidnapping Charge In Missing Baby Case

Katherine Phillips (Courtesy: Ludington Police Department)

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. According to police, Courtland and Phillips had a dispute before he took the child.

Courtland has said Phillips told her that Katherine is still alive, but extensive searches haven’t turned up the girl. Police did find the clothing she was last seen wearing.

Phillips has been lodged in the Mason County Jail since Katherine went missing. He is being held in lieu of a $250,000 bond.

Anyone with information about what happened to Katherine is asked to contact Mason-Oceana 911 at (231) 869-5858. Those wishing to provide information anonymously can call Silent Observer at 888-786-7274. Anonymous information can also be provided at or by texting “LSOTIP” and your tip to 274637.

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TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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