IONIA (WWJ/AP) – A woman has filed papers to marry the father of her missing baby daughter, imprisoned for abducting the girl before her apparent slaying.
Ionia County authorities say Ariel Courtland, of Ludington, filed paperwork Monday and will get a license Thursday to marry Sean Phillips.
Phillips has been imprisoned since earlier this year, serving a 10 to 15 year sentence after being convicted of unlawful imprisonment of his daughter, Katherine, who was 4-months-old when she was last seen on June 29, 2011.
Courtland told WOOD-TV she wants to marry Phillips in order to visit him in prison in her effort to learn what happened to their baby, not because she loves him. She said she’s currently prohibited from visiting Phillips in prison because she is considered to be a victim in the case and is not part of his immediate family.
“A marriage license is a paper… It’s not saying that I’m gonna spend the rest of my life with him,” Courtland told WOOD-TV. “It’s saying that I want to marry him for a… month or however long it takes for me to sit down with him and say, ‘Hey, what the f— happened?’ That’s all it’s meant to be. That’s it.”
Prosecutors say Phillips abducted the baby because he feared a test would confirm his paternity.
Courtland has said Phillips told her that Katherine is still alive, but extensive searches haven’t turned up the girl. Police did, however, find her clothing in Phillips’ shorts pocket.
Police and the FBI say they now consider it a homicide investigation.
Anyone with information about what happened to Katherine is asked to contact Mason-Oceana 911 at 231-869-5858.
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