CHICAGO (CBS) — A team of experts from the Field Museum spent the weekend helping with a murder investigation in Michigan.

WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports it has been two years since 4-month-old Kate Phillips disappeared in Ludington.

Her father, Sean Michael Phillips, is a suspect, but her body has not been found.

This weekend, Field Museum botanist Matt von Konrat and three other Field scientists helped search a wide area, searching for a specific blend of mosses found on the bottom of Sean Phillips’ shoe after his daughter vanished.

Von Konrat has never before taken part in a murder investigation. He said the team helped narrow the search area where baby Kate might be buried.

What started as a purely academic exercise for von Konrat has become personal.

“I didn’t realize how significant and deeply important this was to the local community,” he said.

Now von Konrat and his colleagues will analyze soil samples under a microscope, in an effort to match evidence from the case to a more specific location.

He said, after they finish their work, it will be a matter of looking for a needle in one haystack – instead of several – as authorities continue their search for Kate’s body.

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