Friday, July 8, 2011
Katherine Shelbie-Elizabeth Phillips, 4 months
LUDINGTON — Another daylong search for missing 4-month-old Katherine Shelbie-Elizabeth Phillips resulted in no new leads that would help authorities locate the missing infant who was abducted on June 29, according to an official late Friday.
Law enforcement officials from the Ludington Police Department, Mason County Sheriff's Office, Michigan State Police, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and various police agencies across the state invited volunteers Friday to join in on the search.
As of late Friday, no new information about the case or the whereabouts of the baby was known. The search was still going on around 5 p.m. It was unclear how long Friday's search was set to continue.
The search will resume Saturday at 9 a.m. Volunteers are asked to meet in the parking lot of the Leviathan Disk Golf Course on the west side of Jebavy, north of Johnson Road.
Volunteers must be 18 years or older, and should come equipped with a photo I.D., water, footwear appropriate for a wooded search, brightly colored shirts or vests, and a walking stick to move aside vegitaiton. They will be asked upon arrival to check in with the Ludington Police Department.
Sean Michael Phillips, 21, is accused of abducting the child outside the Ludington apartment where the baby lived with her mother, Ariel Courtland, 19, and the couple's 3 1/2-year-old daughter, Haley.
Phillips has been charged with kidnapping, and remains lodged at the Mason County Jail on $500,000 bond. He has not cooperated with authorities about the whereabouts of the infant, whom Phillips claims is not his biological child. Courtland insists the child is his.
At 1 p.m. volunteers and law enforcement began to search the area of School Forest Trails and the Levianthan Disk Golf Course.
Authorities still hope to speak with anyone who saw Phillips from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on June 29. Phillips was seen at the Wendy’s Restaurant, 5189 W. U.S. 10, that afternoon.
Courtland said she and Phillips got into an argument in his vehicle parked outside her Ludington apartment at 922 E. Tinkham before he drove off around 1 p.m. with the baby in the vehicle.
That was the last time she saw the infant, police said. The couple was arguing over parenting issues, Courtland said.
Phillips was arrested a few hours later at his parents' home, 280 Millerton, in Victory Township about five miles north of Scottville, without the baby in his care. He refuses to tell anyone what happened with the infant.
Authorities have searched a swampy, wooded area near the Victory Township home and all over the Ludington area, but haven't found anything significant to assist the investigation.
Many believe that by now the baby is deceased, although Phillips has told Courtland she is alive.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Mason-Oceana 911 at 231-869-5858.
Those wishing to provide information anonymously can call Silent Observer at 888-STOPCRIME (888-786-7274). Anonymous information can also be provided at HYPERLINK "http://WWW.LSOTIP.COM" WWW.LSOTIP.COM or by texting “LSOTIP and your tip to 274637 (CRIMES).