Courtland and Phillips are parents of Katherine’s older sister. Police are not confirming whether or not Phillips is the missing girl’s father.
“I don’t see how she could be OK, but I don’t want to think like that,” Courtland told a WZZM-TV reporter on Thursday. “I don’t know where she’s at — and, as a mom, it’s hard. She’s my baby. It’s my job to protect her.”
On Thursday, Mason County prosecutors charged Sean Phillips with kidnapping. He is being held on a $500,000 bond.
Despite repeated questioning by police, they say Phillips has refused to say what has happened to Katherine.
Police said they have eliminated Courtland as a suspect in her daughter’s disappearance.
Courtland said Phillips’ actions are out of character. “This isn’t the Sean I know,” she said. “This isn’t the Sean anyone knows.”
Chris Merriman said he spotted Phillips’ car on a private road near his home on Wednesday afternoon.
“I was out mowing the yard and I noticed him driving,” Merriman said. “He came in, and about 45 minutes later he came out.”
Michigan State Police spent much of Thursday searching the wooded area around the private road.
Investigators said Thursday that they are remaining positive, and hope to bring Katherine back alive.
“Obviously, the quicker we can find the child the better,” Ludington Police Chief Mark Barnett said. “We are very anxious to get any information we can. ... We don’t have any specific information that the child is missing with intent to harm the child.”
Katherine was last seen wearing pink shorts with a matching tank top with pink and black flowers. She’s 24 inches long and about 12 pounds, and has no hair and blue eyes.
Anyone with information on the case is asked to call 911 or Ludington Police at 231-843-3425.