NYPD Solve Baby Hope Cold Case

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NYPD Detectives, for twenty-two years, never rested in the determination to bring justice to a little girl found dead, badly beaten and sexually assaulted, in an ice cooler on the Henry Hudson Parkway.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said in a released statement that investigators never gave up. "They made it their mission to identify this young child, to lay her to rest and to bring her killer to justice," he said.

The case of Baby Hope gripped the city as the news of her crumpled, contorted and discarded body found by construction workers made headlines while the police searched for family members, for someone reporting a missing child, anyone who could identify this little girl.

That was July 1991 and the case went cold. The child was named Baby Hope and given a dignified burial attended by the NYPD who “had even paid for her headstone, inscribing it with the message "Because We Care," NYPD Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said.

The break came in the case when a tipster overheard a conversation in an upper Manhattan laundry mat about a murdered relative.  

The NYPD acted quickly on the new evidence and the detectives, in rapid succession, were able to establish the child’s identity based on DNA taken from the remains found in 1991.

Baby Hope is Anjelica Castillo. Her mother was identified as Margarita Castillo, who explained to the detectives she was told her former abusive husband picked up her two daughters, and left. She never saw Anjelica again and apparently never questioned the story.

Conrado Juarez, 52, a cousin of the family has been arrested and charged with the murder and sexual assault of Anjelica Castillo.

Confessing to Police he said during the assault he held a pillow over her face and smothered her “accidently” to keep her quiet. After he told his sister, the child’s Aunt, who has subsequently died, “to help him get rid of the body” and the two somehow, without thought or concern, stuffed the four year old into the cooler and dumped her in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan.

The news of closure in a 22 year-old Cold Case was cause for celebration in the dark corners of the NYPD file room where cases are retired waiting for new evidence that will finally bring an end to the agonizing torture of not knowing.

 

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