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.
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner determined that the cause of death was strangulation and ruled the case a homicide. It was determined that the child was born alive and that he was killed soon after birth.
Greenwich Police Detectives at the crime scene collected multiple pieces of evidence, including items soaked with blood. Numerous interviews were conducted with residents of the apartment building. Investigation at the time, and in the subsequent years, was unable to positively identify the killer of the child.
In 2020, the Greenwich Police Cold Case Unit employed newly available forensic testing to link physical evidence found at the scene to the mother of the deceased child. Additional investigation, including assistance from law enforcement officials in Florida, confirmed the identity of the parent of the deceased child as Janita Philips, a resident of 27 Havemeyer Place at the time of the infant’s death.
In September 2021, Greenwich Police Detectives traveled to Florida and with assistance from Detectives from the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office conducted an interview with Ms Philips. During this interview, and in a subsequent written statement, 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.
On November 17, 2021, Greenwich Police Detectives obtained an arrest warrant from the Superior Court in Stamford for Janita M. Philips, 62, of Lake Mary, FL for the charge of Murder, CGS 53a-54a, with a court set $50,000 bond.
On November 19, 2021, Philips surrendered at Greenwich Police Headquarters where she was arrested, processed and then transported to court for same-day arraignment on the single count of Murder.
“We are grateful that justice is finally being obtained for this infant child of our community,” Deputy Chief Robert Berry said in a statement on Friday. “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.”
Berry went on to say, “Each and every life has meaning and we will always pursue every avenue in the pursuit of justice. We would like to recognize our outstanding partners in this lengthy investigation from the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office, the Florida State Attorney’s Office, the Connecticut State’s Attorney’s Office in Stamford and the Connecticut State Lab-Division of Scientific Services. 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.”