UPDATE: Police searching for Kate's mom's phone

8:35 PM, Jul 5, 2011   |    comments
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  • Sean Phillips
  • Katherine Phillips (Courtesy: Michigan State Police)

UPDATE AT 8:10 P.M., JULY 5 (WZZM) -- Police say they are searching for the cell phone belonging to the mother of a missing Ludington infant.

In a news release issued around 8 p.m. Tuesday, investigators say the cell phone belonging to Ariel Courtland, 19, was left in Sean Phillips's car when he allegedly took off with Courtland's four-month-old daughter, Katherine, on June 29.

The cell phone is a HTC "Desire" model ADR627SA that is black with a light purple trim ring around the display window.

Also Tuesday, investigators say they are back at square one in their search for Baby Kate, as people in the community are calling her.

On Tuesday afternoon, police, sheriff's deputies, Blue Lake Township firefighters, and U.S. Forest Service personnel search an area three-quarters of a mile from the home of Sean Phillips.  Phillips is facing charges of kidnapping Katherine Phillips.

Mason County Sheriff Jeff Fiers spoke to WZZM 13's Phil Dawson Tuesday following the search.  Fiers says the effort to find Baby Kate is back to where it was on June 29.

Police are asking people who know anything about the whereabouts of Katherine Phillips -- or about Sean Phillips' activities on the afternoon of June 29 -- to call 911 or Mason County Central Dispatch at (231) 869-5858.

SCOTTVILLE, Mich. (WZZM) -- U.S. Forest Service personnel and members of a Muskegon County fire department joined local and state police Tuesday in a new search for evidence in the disappearance of a four-month-old Ludington child.

Officers from the Ludington Police, Mason County Sheriff's Department, and the Blue Lake Township Fire and Rescue Department searched an area three-fourths of a mile from the home of Sean Phillips, 21.  He is the man charged with kidnapping Katherine Phillips on June 29.

Deputies say they had covered the same five-square-mile area repeatedly during searches last week, but were back there again on Tuesday afternoon.  They say commanders were discussing whether there would be any release of information on the Tuesday search.

Katherine Phillips -- who is being called "Baby Kate" by people following the case -- has not been seen since around 1:15 p.m. on June 29.  Her mother, Ariel Courtland, told investigators she and Sean Phillips had been arguing in a car in front of her home in Ludington.  She said she went inside her home to get something, and when she came out Phillips and her child were gone.

Police arrested Phillips late in the afternoon on June 29, but Katherine was not with him.  Hours later, Ludington Police issued a state-wide Amber Alert for the child.

Sean Phillips appeared in court on June 30, where he was formally charged with kidnapping.  He is being held on a $500,000 bond.

Dozens of family members, friends, and concerned people have taken part in volunteer efforts to find Baby Kate.  The volunteer operation is based out of Path of Life Ministries in Ludington.

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