Missing: The Mystery of Baby Kate

October 2, 2012

It’s a case that has captured the nation’s attention: Four-month-old Baby Kate vanished from her small Michigan town in June 2011 and has yet to be found. At the time of her disappearance, her mother, Ariel, accused her boyfriend, the baby’s father, Sean, of kidnapping the infant. Sean was tried and convicted of unlawful imprisonment and is currently serving a 10-year sentence, but he has not been charged with Kate’s kidnapping or death. The case is now being investigated as a homicide, although Sean hasn’t told anyone where the baby might be, and authorities haven’t found the child. Missing for more than a year, could she still be alive? And, does Ariel know more about Kate’s disappearance than she’s revealing?








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KateKate with her big sister, HaleyAriel and KateSean and HaleySean's mugshotArielAn onstage demonstrationAriel's father, TimSean's defense attorney, Annette SmedleySean's mother, Kim

Her Side of the Story

Ariel sits down with Dr. Phil to “set the record straight” and attempt to clear any lingering cloud of suspicion that she says surrounds her. “If you don’t grieve a certain way in the public’s eyes, you’re guilty or you’re a bad person," Ariel says. "The two most important people in my life, aside from [my older daughter] Haley, are God and Kate, and they know that I didn’t do it; and they were there that day.”

What does she believe happened to her baby? Does her recollection of Kate’s disappearance add up?


Is Ariel in love with Sean? How does she explain obtaining a license to marry him?

Dr. Phil reads excerpts from a confession letter Sean allegedly wrote containing a detailed explanation about what happened to Kate. Did Sean really write the letter?


Dr. Phil explains that, according to the purported confession letter, Sean ripped the baby's seat out of the car without knowing Kate was in it. Using a car seat demonstration, Dr. Phil challenges that theory. 

“Do you believe that baby was killed by Sean — intentionally or otherwise — on that day?”



Looking for Answers

Ariel’s father, Tim, believes his daughter may be withholding information. Is she protecting Sean? “Ariel called me in 2010 and was pregnant again, and within days, called me back quite upset saying, ‘Sean wants me to abort the baby. Sean wants me to give it up for adoption. I don’t want this. I want to keep the baby,’" Tim says, adding that he told his daughter that if she wanted to place Kate for adoption, he and his wife would adopt her. "The day [Sean] was found guilty, the only thing she cared about was, ‘I should get to see Sean for 10 minutes.’ She didn’t say, ‘Oh my God, we have justice for Kate.’ I don’t hear, ‘I miss Kate.’ I hear, ‘Poor Sean.’"

Sean’s mother, Kim, is speaking out for the first time, and says there are so many details missing about the day Baby Kate disappeared — and she wants answers. Sean's defense attorney, Annette Smedley, says there were many inconsistencies in Ariel's recollection of events. "Sean’s whole thing from the very beginning – and if you look at any of the interview tapes – Ariel was the last one with the baby,” she says.


“I think she was so in love with this guy that she would do anything to protect him.”

"That letter has not been authenticated."

“There’s a theory that the baby could be in Germany, and nobody’s bothered to check?”