LUDINGTON, Mich. (WOOD) - Plant identification experts are asked to apply to help find the remains of 4-month-old Baby Kate, who disappeared nearly two years ago.
Authorities explained the latest details of the investigation during a news conference Wednesday morning in Ludington.
Katherine Phillips disappeared in June 2011. Her father, Sean Phillips, was convicted in April 2012 of unlawful imprisonment in her disappearance, which he is appealing, and currently serving 10 years in prison. After he was sentenced, investigators declared they were treating Baby Kate's case as a homicide.
In a letter believed to be from Phillips to Kate's mother, Ariel Courtland, obtained by 24 Hour News 8, Phillips admitted he accidentally killed the infant in a fit of frustration and wrote that he wasn't sure where he had left her body.
"It is the objective of Law Enforcement to positively identify where Sean walked by eliminating areas we know he could not have gone. We feel that this could ultimately show us where he put Baby Kate," Ludington Police Detective J.B. Wells wrote in an open letter to prospective searchers.
Authorities plan to look for Baby Kate's remains on June 28 and 29 using botanical evidence found on Phillips' shoes, which were confiscated from his home in June 2011.
(Above: Carex on the left and Sphagnum on the right. Courtesy National Park Service.)
"Given the characteristics of these elements and habitat, areas that would support all of these elements have been established," Wells wrote.
Police need volunteers to join the search, but have not yet determined how many will be necessary. There will be an application process because investigators are looking for experts.
== Apply here ==
"This is an incredible opportunity for the Biology community to come together and use their skill and education to help solve a criminal case and bring justice to Baby Kate," Wells wrote.
Searchers are asked to bring a GPS device, if possible, to record coordinates of the plants if found.
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