(LUDINGTON, Mich.) — The mother of a baby who disappeared last year has decided to marry the main suspect in the baby’s disappearance.
The 4-month-old infant known as Baby Kate disappeared last year from her Ludington, Mich., home. At the time, the baby’s mother, Ariel Courtland, accused her boyfriend and the baby’s father of kidnapping the child and “leaving her somewhere.”
Sean Philips, the baby’s father, was tried and convicted on charges of unlawfully imprisoning Baby Kate, though he has not been charged with her kidnapping or death.
During the trial, Courtland admitted that she and Philips had discussed giving the baby up for adoption, and that Philips was still intent on that plan when the baby disappeared. She said she ultimately decided to keep Baby Kate.
Now, Courtland has told Michigan news station WOOD that she plans to wed Philips in order to get more information about where her daughter is. She is currently banned from visiting Philips in prison because she is a victim in the case, but hopes that the marriage will come with permission to see him, she told WOOD.
“I need to have answers,” Courtland told WOOD Tuesday. “I’ve taken all the steps to try to avoid this.”
Courtland applied for a marriage license in Ionia County, according to the report. The clerk’s office would not confirm this information, but said Courtland had not used her marriage license yet.
Courtland said she did not wish to comment when reached by ABC News Wednesday.
“The prison told us that we were never allowed to see each other or talk,” she said in the report. “We weren’t able to have any contact whatsoever unless we were immediate family.”
Philips had previously proposed marriage to Courtland, but the two were never married, she said.
“A marriage license is a paper… It’s not saying that I’m going to spend the rest of my life with him,” she said. “It’s saying that I want to marry him for a… month or however long it takes for me to sit down with him and say, ‘Hey, what the f— happened?’ That’s all it’s meant to be. That’s it.”
Police have indicated that they believe that Philips killed Baby Kate and knows the location of her body.
If he were charged and tried after marrying Courtland, she would be exempt from testifying, as spouses are not required to testify against one another in court.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Laura Smith-Spark and Jose Manuel Rodriguez, CNN
Madison Park and Frank Pallotta, CNN
Story by John Branch, CNN Video by Nick Scott