Police have solved a 22-year-old mystery, closing the case of Baby Hope. Anjelica Castillo was raped and killed in 1991, and officials arrested her cousin in the horrific crime.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. tells NBC New York that the police never closed the case.
“They made it their mission to identify this young child, to lay her to rest and to bring her killer to justice,” he says.
Hope's remains were recovered in the woods along the Henry Hudson Parkway near Dyckman Street. She was found in a cooler on July 23, 1991.
Police have booked 52-year-old Conrado Juarez in the rape and murder case. The man's sister allegedly helped him dispose of the body after he killed the girl in his sister's Astoria, Queens home.
“They then separated and Juarez returned to the Bronx and his sister to Queens, never to speak of the heinous act again until the NYPD investigators, through their relentless investigation, caught up with Juarez,” Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly describes for the New York Daily News.
Anjelica was just four years old at the time. A second woman stepped out to detail being held by Juarez. She details him torturing the child before killing her.
Detectives found the body at the time, but only identified the girl last week, following a tip from an unnamed source. An investigation led them to the man working as a dishwasher in the Bronx.
“You know that phrase, ‘I’m on cloud nine’? That’s where I am right now,” former NYPD Detective Jerry Giorgio expresses.
“I’m very happy and certainly I’m relieved to the fact that when we visit this plot out in St. Raymond’s we can now attach a name to this little girl,” adds Joseph Reznick, former 34th Precinct detective commander.