June 29th is a sad anniversary in the city of Ludington. Four years ago today, Katherine “Baby Kate” Phillips disappeared. That afternoon her father, Sean Phillips, drove away from her mother Ariel Courtland’s apartment complex with Kate in the car. Courtland would never see her daughter again.
State and federal authorities searched for Baby Kate for weeks. The FBI was brought in to help investigate.
After almost a year of legal discrepancies and no sign of the child, Sean Phillips was sentenced 10 to 15 years in state prison for the unlawful imprisonment of his daughter.
Three months later, Courtland received a letter from Phillips in which many argue he admits to having killed their child. In October 2013, Phillips was charged with open murder based on the new evidence. The case was brought back to court where Mason County District Judge Peter Wadel dismissed the murder charge after finding insufficient evidence.
That ruling has since been overturned and probable cause for a trial has been determined. Wadel appointed himself to the trial and, despite a motion to have him disqualified, will serve as the judge sometime later this year.
Many in the community and the country await justice for Baby Kate, and hopefully a trial will prove to be enough to bring the truth to the surface.