Mother Admits to Strangling Child, Leaving Body in Dumpster After 35 Years

A mother was recently arrested after she admitted to strangling her baby and leaving his body in a dumpster 35 years ago.

According to a press release from the Greenwich Police Department in Connecticut on Wednesday, officers obtained an arrest warrant for 62-year-old Janita M. Philips, a Florida resident, for the murder of her child in 1986.

Police said that on May 16, 1986, "an infant male child was found deceased inside a sanitation truck that had just emptied a dumpster at the apartment building located at 27 Havemeyer Place in Greenwich."

After the infant boy's body was discovered in the sanitation truck, the medical examiner's office ruled the case a homicide and determined that the baby died by strangulation. Police said that the medical examiner's office also said that the baby was murdered shortly after birth.

In 1986 and the following years, police discovered numerous pieces of evidence, "including items soaked with blood," and conducted dozens of interviews with residents of the apartment where the deceased infant was found but were "unable to positively identify the killer of the child."

Despite being previously unsuccessful in identifying the infant's killer, in 2020, the Greenwich Police Department's Cold Case Unit began using new forensic testing and used physical evidence to discover who the infant's mother was.

Detectives with the Greenwich Police Department also received assistance from law enforcement officials in Florida and were eventually able to successfully identify Philips as the mother of the deceased infant. Detectives also discovered that Philips was a resident at 27 Havemeyer Place at the time of the homicide.

Greenwich Police Department detectives then traveled to Florida in 2021 and conducted an interview with Philips, with the assistance of detectives from the Seminole County Sheriff's Office.

According to police, during the interview, Philips admitted that "she was the mother of the child and that she caused his death."

"Additional DNA testing further confirmed that Philips was the mother of the deceased child," police said.

After the arrest warrant was obtained, Philips surrendered to the Greenwich Police Department on Friday and was arrested. She was then transported to court and arraigned on one count of murder.

"We are grateful that justice is finally being obtained for this infant child of our community. 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,"Greenwich Police Deputy Chief Robert Berry said.

Berry continued, "There have been many Greenwich Detectives over the last thirty-five years who have investigated this case to the extent of the resources available to them, but I would like to especially single out the work of Greenwich Police Detective First Grade Christy Girard whose tireless efforts, investigative skill and ingenuity brought this investigation to a successful conclusion."

Newsweek was directed to the press release after reaching out to the Greenwich Police Department for comment.

Janita Philips
The Greenwich Police Department arrested 62-year-old Janita M. Philips on Friday, November 19, 2021, after she admitted to murdering her child and leaving him in a dumpster in 1986. Greenwich Police Department/Greenwich Police Department