LUDINGTON (WWJ/AP) – The father of a Baby Kate, a West Michigan infant missing since 2011, is now charged with her murder.
State Attorney General Bill Schuette and Mason County Prosecutor Paul Spaniola announced Friday that 23-year-old Sean Phillips faces one count of open murder.
“New evidence has been discovered which supports a murder charge in this case,” Schuette told reporters Friday — although he declined to provide details about that evidence.
Phillips was convicted of unlawful imprisonment last year in the disappearance of Katherine Phillips, qho was 4-months-old when she disappeared in June 2011 in the Ludington area, 80 miles northwest of Grand Rapids.
Prosecutors say Sean Phillips took the baby from her mother because he feared a court-ordered paternity test would show he was the father.
He received a sentence of 10 to 15 years in prison and is appealing.
Prosecutors say Phillips abducted the baby because he feared a test would confirm his paternity. The baby’s mother, Ariel Courtland, said Phillips wanted to put Katherine up for adoption, but she refused.
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 shortly after her disappearance.
Investigators have said seeds and other material on the shoes of her father could be crucial to the location of a body.
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