Evidence search concludes

June 29, 2013

GRANT TWP. — The search for plant material evidence that may lead to solving the mystery of the disappearance of Katherine “Baby Kate” Phillips has ended. Two years ago today Sean Michael Phillips was the last person seen with the then 4-month-old. Phillips is serving a prison term for unlawful imprisonment of the girl while local law enforcement is conducting a murder investigation into the infant’s disappearance.

The two-day search in northern Mason County has ended. It included over 100 volunteers, the majority experts in the field of botany. Their goal was to collect plant material that, combined, was found on Sean Phillips’ shoes the day Kate disappeared on June 29, 2011.

Ludington Police Department and Mason County Sheriff’s Office have jointly conducted the investigation. This afternoon Ludington Police Chief Mark Barnett and Sheriff Kim Cole issued the following statement about the search:

After two days of intensive searching, this phase of our investigation into the Baby Kate case has concluded. The search teams are all out of the field. The search went smoothly and according to plan. The next phase of this process is for the evidence to be examined by laboratory technicians. It is unknown how long this examination will take.

We are pleased searchers found and collected materials that investigators anticipated finding in the search areas which will further this investigation toward a positive conclusion and obtain our goal of closure for the family and the entire community. The results of the search exceeded our expectations and helped us to reduce the target area by eliminating the larger part of the initial search area.

Our thanks go out to all of the volunteers from all areas and disciplines. This entire phase of the investigation would never have reached a successful conclusion or even had been possible without the efforts and the dedication of all taking part.

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