Woman charged in 1986 murder of her infant son in Connecticut

CONNECTICUT (WABC) -- A Florida woman has surrendered to authorities in Connecticut to face murder charges in the death of her infant son more than 35 years ago.

Greenwich Police say 62-year-old Janita Philips of Lake Mary, Florida, confessed to killing her baby boy back in 1986.

The infant's body was found on May 16, 1986, in a sanitation truck that had just emptied a dumpster at an apartment building on Havemeyer Place in Greenwich.

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The medical examiner at the time found that the boy was born alive and had been strangled shortly after birth.

At the time, police interviewed Philips, who lived in the building, and even asked her to take a blood test. She refused, however, and soon after moved to Florida.

Police worked for years to track down the baby's killer, but it wasn't until 2019 that newly available forensic testing allowed cold case detectives to link evidence found at the crime scene to the baby's mother.

Subsequent DNA testing revealed Philips was in fact the boy's mother.

Court documents detailed how detectives traveled to Florida, removed items from Philips' trash, and tested that for DNA linking her and her husband as the baby's parents.

Phillips finally came clean and reportedly told police -- and her shocked husband -- that she hid the pregnancy, saying, "I didn't want to crash his dreams and fall down the rabbit hole of having a bunch of kids and stuck with bills and not being able to care for them or get to achieve his dreams."

"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."

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After her arraignment, Philips was freed without bail.

She is charged with murder because it is the only applicable charge in which the statute of limitations hasn't expired.

Her lawyers say they hope a plea deal to a lesser charge can be negotiated.

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