Has Phillips confessed? TV obtains letter from prison

September 11, 2012

WOOD TV-8 of Grand Rapids has published a confession letter that the TV station claims was written by Sean Phillips, father of Katherine “Baby Kate” Phillips.

Phillips is currently serving a prison sentence for the unlawful imprisonment of the infant girl who has been missing since June 29, 2011.

See the letter at WOOD TV-8 website by clicking here. 

WOOD TV does not say how it obtained the letter. But, the station was the first today to break a story about Ariel Courtland, mother of Baby Kate, filing paperwork in Ionia County for a marriage license with Sean Phillips (see related story).

The five page letter is hand written to Courtland. WOOD states it is on jail-issued lined paper and was in an envelope postmarked July 16. The letter is unsigned but, the station reports, has Phillips’ name and prison ID number on the front of the envelope.

The letter starts with the events happening at Courtland’s apartment that day. Courtland and other witnesses had testified at the trial that she and Phillips were arguing in the parking lot of the Tinkham Avenue apartment complex.

“If this is what you want, OK,” the letter starts. “I always felt I needed to do this in person…but this can’t wait any longer. I don’t think I could even make it through talking about that day here now.

“I cry trying to talk about much less. I just wanted to leave that day Ariel…

“Heard the door shut, saw you walk off. Your hands in front of you, not at your sides. Like you were holding Kate. I drove away…

“I wanted to get done in town. But, I was tired and hungry and trying to decide whether to put it off till tomorrow another time…

“The phone kept ringing… I went back in the car and… that f’…. phone wouldn’t stop ringing…”

The letter stated he did not know the baby was still in the seat and that he planned to throw the car seat out of the car in frustration.

“…was just going to throw it out onto that area between Burger King. I pulled but it was jammed between the seats. That just made it worse… I grabbed it at the top and ripped it out as hard as I could. She was thrown from it. I didn’t know. I’m so sorry. Help her for a long time. Seemed like forever. Maybe an hour, maybe a minute.”

The letter goes on to explain that the writer didn’t know what to do and he couldn’t think.

“It eventually sunk in or something. I started crying. Couldn’t stop. I’ve never cried that hard. Seemed like my throat was closing. Mind was racing but I couldn’t think. I guess I was in shock. I never tried to help her. Never even thought to. Just sat there. Holding her. I didn’t think anything could have been done…”

The letter writer states he started driving. “Not to anywhere or for any reason. Just drove…. I suddenly realized I was driving but couldn’t remember how I came to be or where I was. Almost crashed twice. The second time I stopped and pulled off the road. I needed out of that car and I just walked off. After awhile I stopped….

“She was set in a peaceful place. I was walking and lost…then I was driving and for the first time I realized I had left her. I wanted to die. Couldn’t bring myself to crash but didn’t try not to.”

The letter writer says he doesn’t know where he left the body but he didn’t bury her.

At the end of the letter, he states “…spouses tell each other in confidence, can’t be made to testify. But we aren’t married yet in the eye of the government. Then hearsay can’t be used. So if you told them it would be hearsay as it does not come from me. But grand jury can sometimes allow hearsay. Could you ask..”

The end of the letter then says: “Destroy this. We’ll talk.”

Mason County Press has contacted Ludington Police Chief Mark Barnett for a comment but has not received a call back yet.