Baby Kate case plant evidence search begins Friday

June 26, 2013


Dr. Frank Telewski of MSU testified during Sean Phillips' trial. He is one of the experts helping with the case.

Dr. Frank Telewski of MSU testified during Sean Phillips’ trial. He is one of the experts helping with the case.

LUDINGTON – A two day search for new evidence in the case of Katherine Shelbie-Elizabeth “Baby Kate” Phillips begins Friday morning. Phillips has been missing since June 29, 2011 when she was 4-months-old. Her father, Sean Phillips, was sentenced last year for unlawful imprisonment following a jury trial. Following his sentencing, law enforcement announced it was opening a murder investigation into the death of Katherine.

One of the points of focus for investigators has been exactly where Sean Phillips was the day he abducted Kate. Plant experts from Michigan State University and University of Michigan have been instrumental in helping law enforcement identify a combination of a variety of plant life that was found on Sean’s shoes after he was arrested. Specific areas in the county have been identified as possible habitations for the combination of the elements (see related story here).

Ludington Police Chief Mark Barnett said 100 trained volunteers will be present Friday and Saturday to assist in the search. Most of those volunteers have specific expertise in the evidence being searched for. Several other volunteers are members of local fire departments along with law enforcement personnel. Barnett said the searches will take place in the northern part of Mason County.

Barnett said ideally the goal would be to find evidence that will lead investigators to Sean Phillips’ steps on June 29, 2011 and ideally to find out what happened to Baby Kate.

The reason the exact dates of the abduction were chosen was to coincide with the growing season of the plants in question.

Volunteers will meet a Ludington High School’s L.F. Peterson Auditorium Friday morning where they will be briefed. The briefings are not open to the public but media will be present.

Mason County Press has been requested by Sheriff Kim Cole to be one of two exclusive photographers of the search. We will be supplying photographs to other media and will also be posting here on our website along with our Facebook and Twitter sites: and (@masoncopress).

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