New York, NY, United States (4E) – The New York Police Department has solved a 22-year-old murder case after finding the killer of a 4-year-old girl, whose body was found inside a cooler dumped in the woods in 1991.
NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly said on Saturday that the victim previously named “Baby Hope” was also finally identified as Anjelica Castillo with the arrest Friday of Conrado Juarez, 52. Juarez confessed to sexually assaulting Castillo and smothering her to death at his sister’s home in Queens in 1991.
“Today, NYPD investigators have given young Anjelica her due justice,” Kelly said, according to ABC News. The commissioner said they never gave up finding the killer of the girl, whom police named her Baby Hope because they hoped to solve her murder.
Detectives from the 34th precinct squad also paid for Baby Hope’s burial and tombstone with the message: ‘Because We Care,’” according to Kelly.
In his confession to police, Suarez said his sister, who is already deceased, suggested to him to put the girl’s body inside a cooler and to dump it in the woods after learning of her death.
Construction workers found the cooler near the Henry Hudson Parkway in Manhattan’s Washington Heights neighborhood in July 1991.
The case went unsolved until last summer, when the NYPD launched a fresh campaign to find leads to the case. After distributing fliers about the case of Baby Hope, police received an anonymous tip on the victim’s sister, who was overheard telling another woman at a laundromat that Castillo was missing since their parents separated.
The sister led to the victim’s mother and using DNA sample from her, police identified her as the mother. The mother told police her husband took he two daughters with him. She learned the death of Castillo but was afraid to tell the police because she feared for her husband’s anger.