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Woman arrested in connection to 1986 cold-case strangulation death of infant found in garbage truck

Source: Mega; Greenwich police

Nov. 20 2021, Published 11:33 a.m. ET

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Authorities have tracked down the alleged killer of a newborn baby boy whose body was found 34 years ago inside a sanitation truck that had just emptied a dumpster.

On May 16, 1986, the boy — who police nicknamed “Baby John” — was discovered in Greenwich, Connecticut, and the Chief Medical Examiner determined he was born alive and then murdered by strangulation, WVIT reported.

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Police were unable to determine who was responsible for the newborn’s death and the case went cold.

On Nov. 19, officials announced the Greenwich Police Cold Case Unit successfully used forensic testing on physical evidence recovered at the time the baby was found to identify the alleged killer as the boy’s mother, 62-year-old Janita Philips.

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Philips lived near where the baby was found dead in Connecticut and reportedly spoke with investigators at the time. She moved to Lake Mary, Florida, not long after the baby died.

Police said detectives in Florida recently interviewed Philips. She allegedly admitted the newborn was hers, and said she wasn’t ready to become a mother due to stressors in her life but she was sorry for the child’s death and always troubled by what happened, according to police.

Philips has been charged with murder and was being held on $50,000 bond ahead of her arraignment in Greenwich.

“We are grateful that justice is finally being obtained for this infant child of our community,” Greenwich police 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.”


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