Florida woman charged with killing her baby in 1986 cold case


GREENWICH, Conn. (WFLA/NBC) — A Florida woman was arrested Friday for allegedly killing her baby 35 years ago in Greenwich, Connecticut, according to police.

Police said the child was found dead on May 16, 1986, inside a sanitation truck after it emptied an apartment building’s dumpster.

At the time, the medical examiner determined that the baby boy was strangled to death shortly after birth, but police couldn’t identify who killed the child since DNA testing was less advanced than it is now.

A report from NBC affiliate WVIT states that in 2020, a new form of forensic testing allowed police to link the child’s death to his mother. After working with law enforcement in Florida, they identified the baby’s mother as Janita Philips, 62, of Lake Mary, Florida.

Police said Philips lived in the apartment building at the time and even spoke with police in 1986. She then moved shortly after the child’s death, according to detectives.

In September 2021, Greenwich detectives went to Florida to speak with Philips with deputies from the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office.

According to police, she admitted to being the baby’s mother and causing his death since she was not ready to have more children.

Police obtained a warrant Wednesday to charge Philips with murder. She surrendered to police custody Friday morning.

In a Friday news conference, police said Philips told them no one knew she was pregnant at the time.

She also said she regretted the child’s death and was troubled by it her entire life, according to the Greenwich Police Department.

Philips was released Friday on a promise to appear in court. Her next hearing is Jan. 26, 2022.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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