Seven Years Missing: Katherine Shelbie-Elizabeth Phillips, aka Baby Kate

Baby Kate was just four months old on June 29, 2011 when she disappeared off the face of the earth, with only two people having seen her that day, her mother, Ariel Courtland, and father, Sean Phillips.  Her mother said that the father took off with Kate shortly after he had went to take a paternity test at the local hospital.  The father contested that he didn't, that the baby should have been with her mother.  Circumstantial evidence led to the father being convicted of unlawful imprisonment in 2012 and sentenced to 10-15 years.  That evidence plus a 'confession' note led to a later open murder trial in 2016, which led to his conviction and a new sentence of 19-45 years.

Despite a lack of particulars in the 'confession' letter, and the father's forgetfulness (real or imagined) the location of Baby Kate has yet to be determined.  The murder trial was noticeably bereft of conclusive evidence against Sean Phillips or any real evidence that a murder took place, whether accidental or through negligence.  The lack of any solid indications that Baby Kate was dead or recovery of the body since, has led to many theories that she may be still alive and served as the commodity in a 'black market' adoption.  Other plausible theories suggest a more active part in the disappearance of Baby Kate by her mother, perhaps bolstered by inconsistencies in her testimony.  

As this seventh year passes, keep Kate in your thoughts.  The investigation's nearsightedness and prejudices, contained in their 98 page report, illustrates that this case was poorly handled and incompletely investigated.  This should provide optimism that Baby Kate may one day turn up as a kid or even an adult who lived a much better life than she would have with the two people that made her.  

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