Mom of Missing 'Baby Kate' Plans to Marry Her Daughter's Suspected Killer

Do you remember hearing about Baby Kate, the infant girl who went missing last year? Little Katherine Shelbie-Elizabeth Phillips was allegedly taken by her father on June 29 of 2011, and she hasn't been seen since. Despite a massive search effort and an ongoing court case, no information has turned up about Baby Kate's whereabouts -- or whether the baby is still alive.

Baby Kate's father, Sean Phillips, has been in jail since he was convicted of unlawful imprisonment of his daughter earlier this year. He's also been officially named a suspect in what police now consider to be a homicide investigation.

So why has Katherine's mother Ariel Courtland -- the same woman who accused Sean of kidnapping and murdering her baby -- filed paperwork to marry him?

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According to Courtland, it's not because she's in love with Philips. She's trying to marry him so she can talk to him:

I need to have answers. I've taken all the steps to try to avoid this. (...) It has nothing to do with Kate. The prison told us that we were never allowed to see each other or talk ... We weren't able to have any contact whatsoever ... unless we were immediate family. I still have a billion ... questions for him.

Apparently Courtland's been banned from visiting Phillips in prison because she's considered to be a victim in the case, and appealing the decision didn't work. She now believes the only way she can see Phillips is if she's part of his immediate family.

That's why she's filing for a marriage license. As Courtland said,

A marriage license is a paper ... It's not saying that I'm gonna spend the rest of my life with him. It's saying that I want to marry him for a ... month or however long it takes for me to sit down with him and say, "Hey, what the f--- happened?" That's all it's meant to be. That's it.

Yeah, call me cynical but I'm not really buying this. I mean, really, the only way for her to communicate with Sean Phillips is by marrying him? It's a little hard to accept this explanation when the trial turned up so much damning evidence against her. To be clear, police have stated that Courtland is NOT a suspect in the baby's disappearance or suspected murder -- but her former boss testified that Courtland once said “that she wishes the baby had never been born” and that Kate “would just disappear or die.”

Plus, there was a bunch of information that came out in trial about how Courtland had considered giving up Kate for adoption and even signed papers to do so at one point, and ugh, this whole case has been a giant MESS. I can't help thinking that the real reason behind this marriage scheme is to get spousal privilege so the parents don't have to testify against each other.

Whatever the real story is, it seems less and less likely that Baby Kate will ever be found alive. What a horrible tragedy, made worse by the fact that someone knows exactly what happened to her -- and they're not talking.

What do you think about this twist in the Baby Kate story? Do you think the mom's marriage plans are legitimate?


Image courtesy of Michigan State Police

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