A letter, apparently written by Sean Phillips from prison, details what happened the day Baby Kate disappeared.
The five page hand written letter, obtained by WOOD TV8, explains how 4-month-old Baby Kate died and where her body was placed. WOOD TV8 reports the unsigned letter is written on prison-issued lined paper and was placed in an envelope postmarked July 16. The envelope also included Sean Phillips' name and his prison ID number on the front.
The letter explains the baby's death was an accident, when Phillips became angry and threw the carseat.
"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. Held her for a long time. Seemed like forever. Maybe an hour, maybe a minute."
"I've never cried that hard. Seemed like my throat was closing ... I was in shock."
The letter goes on to detail what Phillips did once he realized what had happened. "I never even tried to help her. Never even thought to. Just sat there. Holding her. I don't think anything could have been done. Still I used to hate myself for not trying."
Then he drove and drove, the letter says, not even knowing where he was headed. Then he stopped and got out of the car. "For the first time I could think some. Thought about Kate. Her smile. The way she looks around. Everything. I cried until I somehow couldn't anymore. She was set in a peaceful place. I was walking and lost. ... For the first time I realized I had left her. I wanted to die." But, he said, leaving the baby was never deliberate. "It wasn't dumping a body," the letter reads. "Wasn't like that at all. I want her buried too. I don't know where she was left. No, it's not some f------ swamp or lake."
"Everything just happened, and I never had a chance to do the right thing," the letter reads. A mention of marriage comes toward the end of the letter. "Things spouses tell each other in confidence can't be made to testify. But we aren't married yet in the eye of the government," it reads. The letter ends abruptly: "Out of time for mail. Destroy this. We'll talk."
Ariel Courtland filed for a marriage license on Sept. 10 in Ionia County. Sean Phillips was sentenced in June to 10-15 years in prison.
Mason County Prosecuting Attorney, Paul Spaniola, tells 7&4 News a copy of the letter was given to investigative officers several weeks ago by a family member of Baby Kate. Spaniola said the letter was not released to WOOD TV by any law enforcement officer or agency and released the following statement:
The Mason County Sheriff's Office and Ludington Police Department continue to investigate the case as a homicide. As with any other case, it is important that the investigation be complete and thorough. Investigators continue to follow up leads that have been developed.
To read the full letter click here.