Greenwich Police arrest mother of baby found dead inside garbage truck in 1986

Fairfield

GREENWICH, Conn. (WTNH) — Greenwich Police made an arrest Friday in the 1986 homicide of a baby boy.

Janita Philips, 62, of Lake Mary, Florida, was charged with murder in the case, which involved a baby boy who was found dead inside a garbage truck.

In May of 1986, police said the baby was found dead inside a garbage truck that had just emptied a dumpster at the apartment building at 27 Havemeyer Place in Greenwich. The medical examiner’s office determined the cause of death was strangulation and ruled the case a homicide, according to police.

Police determined the child was born alive and was killed soon after birth.

Greenwich Police collected multiple pieces of evidence at the crime scene and conducted interviews with residents, but were unable to identify who killed the child at the time or in subsequent years.

In 2020, the Greenwich Police Cold Case Unit applied newly available forensic testing to link physical evidence from the scene to the mother of the child. Police said the investigation led them to confirm that Philips, a resident of that address at the time of the boy’s death, was the baby’s mother.

According to police, detectives traveled to Florida in September and conducted an interview with Philips, who admitted that she was the mother of the child and caused his death. DNA testing further confirmed Philips was the mother.

Greenwich Police detectives obtained an arrest warrant for Philips on Wednesday with a $50,000 court-set bond. She surrendered at police headquarters Friday, where she was arrested and taken to court for a same-day arraignment.

“We are grateful that justice is finally being obtained for this infant child of our community,” Greenwich Police Deputy Chief Robert Berry said. “The investigation of his tragic death has taken many long years, but he has always been remembered and we hope this conclusion will bring him peace and recognition. Each and every life has meaning and we will always pursue every avenue in the pursuit of justice.”

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