Mother of Baby Found Dead in Greenwich in 1986 Charged With Murder

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Greenwich police have made an arrest in the death of a baby boy 35 years ago and charged his mother with murder.

The baby boy was found on May 16, 1986, inside a sanitation truck that had just emptied a dumpster at an apartment building on Havemeyer Place in Greenwich, police said.

It was determined that the child was born alive and that he was killed soon after birth, police said.

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner determined that the baby died of strangulation and ruled the case a homicide.

Police investigated, but could not positively identify who killed the child.

The science of DNA was in the early stages in 1986.

Greenwich police have made an arrest in the death of a baby boy 35 years ago and charged his mother with murder.

Police said Friday that one key piece of evidence was found with help from an individual.

Thirty-four years after the baby’s death, in 2020, the Greenwich Police Cold Case Unit used forensic testing that was newly available to link physical evidence found at the scene to the mother, police said.

With help from law enforcement officials in Florida, they identified the mother as 62-year-old Janita Philips, of Lake Mary, Florida, according to Greenwich Police.

They said she lived at the Havemeyer Place address at the time of the infant’s death and she was one of several people police spoke with in 1986.

In September of this year, Greenwich Police Detectives went to Florida and spoke with Philips with assistance from Detectives from the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office.

Police said Philips admitted that she was the mother of the child and that she caused his death.

On Wednesday, Greenwich Police Detectives obtained an arrest warrant charging Philips with murder. Bond was set at $50,000.

Philips surrendered at Greenwich police headquarters around 6 a.m. Friday and was released on a promise to appear after being arraigned.

Police said during a news conference Friday that Philips was remorseful and said this troubled her throughout her life.

Officials said Philips had several stressors in her life and wasn’t prepared to have more children.

She said she had not informed anyone of the pregnancy and moved to Florida soon after the death of the baby.

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