LUDINGTON, Mich. (WOOD) - From the Mason County Jail, Sean Phillips was willing to visit with the mother of the infant he's accused of kidnapping, but refuses to talk with his own immediate family, Ariel Courtland told 24 Hour News 8.
Courtland, baby Katherine Phillips' mother, hasn't seen her daughter since the day the 4-month-old became the subject of an Amber Alert.
Ludington police say the baby girl was kidnapped by Phillips, who is believed to be Katherine's father.
It's been more than a week now, and the only sign of Katherine has been the finding of the infant's clothing in the woods near Phillips' home, investigators say.
Describing Phillips' demeanor as "strange" during her visits with him on Saturday and Sunday, Courtland said the 21-year-old suspect has turned down any opportunity to talk with his parents, with whom he lived before his arrest.
He also got eerily quiet, Courtland said, when she asked about Katherine. He would only nod his head yes when Courtland asked if the girl was still alive.
"I believe him," Coutland told 24 Hour News 8 Wednesday evening, adding that she doesn't believe Phillips would hurt anyone, much less his own daughter.
During much of the two conversations they had over the weekend Phillips talked about other things, Courtland said, and often times acted as if things were "normal".
Courtland said she did see fear in Phillips and said he told her he was afraid of spending the "rest of his life in prison."
Sunday, the visit ended abruptly. Phillips stood up and said "I can't do this anymore," according to Courtland.
"Then he hung up the phone," she said.
In an effort to keep her daughter in touch with her grandparents, Courtland said she has visited the Phillips' home. The ordeal, she said, has brought her closer to Phillips' parents, who she didn't think liked her before.
"They're no more to blame (for the kidnapping) than I am," Courtland said.
Phillips' family has declined to comment since the alleged kidnapping and have now placed a 'No Trespassing' sign at the end of the long dirt driveway that leads to the family home.
Phillips has hired an attorney and is not cooperating with the investigation, police said. He's charged with kidnapping.
A fund to help the family with expenses related to the search for Katherine has been sat up at the Grand Valley Co-Op Credit Union. Contributions can be made to the "Baby Kate Fund" at any branch.
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