By Tony Aiello

GREENWICH, Conn. (CBSNewYork) — A Florida woman turned herself into police Friday on charges she killed her baby decades ago in Greenwich, Connecticut.

The boy, who police nicknamed “baby John,” was found dead inside a dumpster in 1986. The medical examiner determined he was born alive and strangled shortly after birth.

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As CBS2’s Tony Aiello reports, the case went cold, but in 2019, police announced new DNA techniques would be used to try to solve the case. They offered a $20,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction.

Then in 2020, police used forensic testing to link the boy’s mother to the scene. Investigators tracked her down in Florida, where she admitted to causing his death.

Greenwich Police obtained an arrest warrant for 62-year-old Janita Philips on Wednesday, and she turned herself in Friday morning.

“This had troubled her throughout her entire life. She did seem remorseful,” said Robert Berry, with the Greenwich Police.

Police say in May 1986, Phillips hid a pregnancy from her husband, Jerry, and their young son. Secretly, she gave birth to another boy at their apartment, killed the child and put the body in a dumpster.

The tragic death made headlines at the time. Phillips was questioned but denied any involvement.

The family quickly relocated from Greenwich to a suburb of Orlando, Florida.

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In 2020, the Greenwich Cold Case Squad connected some of the 1986 evidence to Phillips’ husband.

Cops secretly retrieved garbage from their home in Lake Mary, Florida. Police say DNA testing confirmed both were parents of the dead newborn.

“We take every life in our community very seriously. Obviously to lose one at such a young age without any attribution, any responsibility, has tugged at our heartstrings over the years,” Berry said.

The arrest warrant says Phillips confessed to the crime, blaming stress and her husband’s wish to have no more children.

“It’s a very, very tragic situation, and she’s had to live with this grief for 35 years,” defense attorney Lindy Urso said.

For now, the charge against Phillips is murder, the only charge applicable given the statute of limitations. There is every indication this case will result in a plea deal to a lesser charge, bringing closure sometime next year.

“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,” police said in a press release.

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Police say after an initial denial, Phillips has been cooperative and surrendered voluntarily. A judge ruled she is not a flight risk and released her without setting bail.

Tony Aiello