Search for clues underway in Baby Kate case

June 28, 2013
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Juan Larrain of Chicago Field Museum inspects plant material while searching near Modjeski Road in Grant Township.

By ROB ALWAY, Editor-in-Chief.

GRANT TWP. — Over 100 people are searching the woods of northern Mason County today trying to find some sort of clue of what happened to Katherine “Baby Kate” Phillips, two years ago. The primary objective of the search is to find a combination of specific plant material that was on the shoes of Sean Michael Phillips, the then-4-month-old’s biological father who is now serving a prison sentence for unlawful imprisonment.

Searchers form a line along Modjeski Rd. in Grant Twp.

Searchers form a line along Modjeski Rd. in Grant Twp.

The same day Sean Phillips was sentenced, Ludington Police Department and Mason County Sheriff’s Office announced it was opening up a murder investigation on the case.
See background on the search here.

Mason County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Bob Brown said 13 sites are being searched. Most of the searchers are people who have an expertise in biology or botany.

These sites are different locations than the sites that were searched in 2011. A sheriff”s official said only a few areas in the county have the unique combination of the plant materials they are looking for — most of those sites are where they are concentrating. In addition, Sean Phillips’ cell phone was “pinged” off of a cell phone tower in the northwest portion of the county.

Among the volunteers searching are Mason County Central Schools Superintendent Jeff Mount. Mount said he volunteered because he has a degree in biology. “More importantly, I want the family and the community to have closure,” he said.

Jordan DeVries, administrator of the Mason-Lake Conversation District, also has a biology degree. “Number one, I want this search to be a favorable outcome for the investigators,” he said. “But, I also am using this opportunity to get familiar with the land in northern Mason County.”
The search will continue throughout the day and tomorrow.

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