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Arrest in "Baby Hope" Case: NYPD 

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Old 10-10-2013, 05:55 AM
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Dead 22 Years, ‘Baby Hope’ Has a Name Again

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In July 1991, a picnic cooler with the corpse of a small child in it was found on the southbound side of the Henry Hudson Parkway near the Dyckman Street exit.


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As the officers tacked up posters and handed out fliers last July, a van with loudspeakers inched through Washington Heights, announcing yet another attempt by the police to dredge up anything resembling a clue in an emotionally wrenching case from 1991: the little girl whose emaciated and bound body had been left in a cooler by a highway in Upper Manhattan.

There was no name. No known family. No suspects.

After 22 years, it had become one of those cases that seem destined to go unsolved, no matter how detectives tried to jog people’s memories or find something that had eluded them the last time.

But that on-the-ground effort in July produced a tip. A woman recalled a conversation, years ago, in which another woman spoke of a younger sister murdered. She did not know if the dead girl was the one the police called Baby Hope, but the similarities were apparent.

The lead was pursued, and the older sister was found. Investigators then tracked down the woman’s mother, surreptitiously taking a sample of her DNA.

The forensic results produced a match. Suddenly, Baby Hope had a name, and the police were moving toward answering questions that had perplexed the many detectives who had invested time and emotion in the case. The detectives had acted as her surrogate family, providing a headstone for the girl; they had even given her the name of Hope, maintaining it even when little seemed to exist. Over the years, detectives would visit the cemetery plot every so often, out of respect but also to stake it out for any semblance of a new clue.

The developments in the haunting case came after the mother spoke with police detectives and prosecutors from the office of the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr.

Police officials would not answer questions as to the father’s whereabouts. Detectives were now trying to talk to relatives on the father’s side of the family, John J. McCarthy, the Police Department’s top spokesman, said on Tuesday. The mother is not considered a suspect, and police officials did not release the name of Baby Hope or her relatives.

The girl was between 4 and 5 years old when she died, the police said. At a time when violent crime in New York City was far more common — there were 2,154 murders in 1991 — the stark outlines of the crime still shook its residents.

The medical examiner’s office said then that the girl had been strangled and sexually abused. The body had been bound with a cord, and she had been starved before she died.

The mother told detectives that Baby Hope had been taken from her and that she had made attempts to locate her, but was unsuccessful. She told the police she did not know what became of her daughter until detectives recently approached her, adding that she was not living with the girl’s father at the time of her disappearance, Mr. McCarthy said.

The forensic tests matched the mother’s DNA sample to DNA from Baby Hope, whose body had been exhumed in 2007 so genetic samples could be taken. The effort to secure DNA failed then, but a 2011 effort using newer techniques succeeded. There were no matches in the databases the police checked. Mr. McCarthy said the tip that made the difference came from a woman who said she had been involved in a conversation, years ago, in a Laundromat.

The tipster described hearing a woman say that her younger sister had died. The police say the woman the tipster heard was Baby Hope’s older sister.

The older sibling had learned of her sister’s death from another sister, younger than Baby Hope, who was living with Baby Hope and their father when the girl was killed. It was not clear when the younger sister told the older sister about Baby Hope’s death.

It was enough for detectives to track down both the sisters, then the mother. They proceeded with deliberate speed, an approach seconded by a retired investigator who worked on the case several years ago, after it went to the cold case squad.

“You only have one key to this whole thing right now, and by arresting this person, you turn off the only key to the past that you have,” said the investigator, Joseph L. Giacalone, who retired as a detective sergeant. “The public is going to have to be patient.”

One law enforcement official, who has been briefed on the case and who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the investigation was still going on, cautioned that a good deal of detective work remained to be done before any charges could be brought. That official said the investigation was focusing on determining the circumstances surrounding the little girl’s death as well as who was responsible.

The official also noted that the statute of limitations had lapsed on every possible crime a suspect could face except murder, including manslaughter and possible sex crimes, so no arrest could be made until investigators had enough evidence to charge someone with second-degree murder.

The long search began on a Tuesday in July 1991, the sixth day in a week of sweltering 90-degree weather. A highway maintenance supervisor working on the Henry Hudson Parkway noticed something partly covered with branches and leaves. He recognized it as a picnic cooler. It sat by a tree where the land drops off on the southbound side of the parkway near the Dyckman Street exit.

For days, a foul smell had drifted up from there. Now the workers seemed to have found the source: soda cans and a black plastic garbage bag. A caustic liquid poured out. When they cut the bag open, they saw a leg and an arm. They ran to summon help.

The police said the body was that of a child, naked except for an elastic hair band. She had black hair; it was too late to determine the color of her eyes. A preliminary autopsy established that she had no broken bones or obvious bruises. She had grown to 3 feet 2 inches. The body weighed 20 pounds, which pathologists figured was slightly less than when she had died.

It was not clear how long the body had been in the cooler.

In the first few weeks, detectives tried to figure out where the child had lived by, among other things, tracking the soda cans that were found in the cooler, with the girl’s body, through codes printed on the cans. The codes were of no use. They had apparently been partially washed-out by the melted ice and fluids in the cooler. Still, the police questioned Coca-Cola delivery people.

The police hoped the cooler itself would provide a lead. They traced it to the Texas factory where it had been manufactured. The trail all but ended there. The manufacturer said that 79 coolers from that same batch had been shipped to New York State, but the dealers did not keep track of the purchasers.

The most promising early lead came from a pay phone. A woman said she had seen something on the parkway, but her family had not wanted to get caught up in a police matter. She said they had driven by on July 14, a Sunday, and had noticed a man and a woman carrying a cooler.

Later another woman, apparently the first caller’s daughter, telephoned the police and described the man as having been about 5 feet 6 inches tall. She said he had appeared to be in his 40s, with dark hair and light brown skin. He had been wearing a brown sport jacket, she said, and had appeared to be “Mexican or South American.” She said the woman had been about the same age and height, had had shoulder-length hair and had been wearing a gray dress and high heels.

The body remained in the morgue for two years while detectives worked on the case. Then, in 1993, they arranged her funeral, with a bagpiper playing “Amazing Grace” and a eulogy by Lt. Joseph Reznick, the plain-spoken commander of the detectives in the 34th Precinct in Washington Heights. More than 500 people attended the Mass at St. Elizabeth’s Church, on Wadsworth Avenue near West 187th Street.

Mr. Reznick is now a chief who commands the department’s narcotics division.

“I have had a few goals before leaving this job,” he said. “One was to reach 40 years; I will reach that in December. The other was to make sure that this case never left the minds of people, and to solve it. That was my ultimate goal.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/09/ny...ewanted=2&_r=0
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A drawing of "Baby Hope" from a police poster seeking information about her.

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Police officials now know the name of "Baby Hope," but they have not released it yet.

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Old 10-10-2013, 07:24 AM
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Re: Dead 22 Years, ‘Baby Hope’ Has a Name Again

Wow, that is one interesting story. and so sad.

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Old 10-10-2013, 04:18 PM
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Re: Dead 22 Years, ‘Baby Hope’ Has a Name Again

Poor baby. I hope they can convict the person who did this of murder. The statute of limitations for sexual assault shouldn't be so short, especially if there is potentially DNA evidence or the victim was also murdered by the person who sexually assaulted them.

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Old 10-10-2013, 05:53 PM
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Re: Dead 22 Years, ‘Baby Hope’ Has a Name Again

I remember when this child was found, and have followed the story. I always knew deep inside that one day her identity would be discovered. Poor baby.

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Old 10-12-2013, 10:24 PM
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Arrest in "Baby Hope" Case: NYPD

SHIMON PROKUPECZ

NBCNewYork.com

October 13, 2013

Police say they have solved the 22-year-old mystery of, "Baby Hope," the child whose body was found dumped in a cooler in the woods in upper Manhattan in 1991, announcing the arrest Saturday of a cousin they say sexually assaulted and smothered the 4-year-old girl.

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said 52-year-old Conrado Juarez was visiting relatives, staying at his sister's house in Queens, when he attacked the girl, whose real name is Anjelica Castillo.

Juarez allegedly told police on Friday that when Anjelica went motionless, he summoned his sister into the room, and she ordered him to get rid of the body, bringing him the cooler. The pair then took a livery cab to Manhattan from the sister's Queens home, and dumped the cooler, he said.

It was not clear if he had a lawyer. Kelly said Juarez' sister is no longer alive.
The girl's body was found by construction workers on July 23, 1991 along the Henry Hudson Parkway near Dyckman Street.

Her identity was not known until this week. Detectives in the cold case had even paid for her headstone, inscribing it with the message, "Because We Care," Kelly said.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. said in a statement Saturday 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.

Investigators launched a renewed push this summer for leads in the case, and it was amid that publicity for, "Baby Hope," that a tipster contacted police, saying she thought she might know the child's sister, now an adult.

That tip led detectives to relatives of the girl, and eventually, her mother. This week, the child's real name was finally learned.

Police said Anjelica was staying with Juarez' sister because her parents had recently split up.

A law enforcement official tells NBC 4 New York that the mother claims she lived in fear of the baby's father and was afraid to go to police after her daughter disappeared.

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Old 10-12-2013, 10:38 PM
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Re: Arrest in "Baby Hope" Case: NYPD


CS Muncy for The New York Times
Conrado Juarez, 52, was arrested in the 1991 killing of Anjelica Castillo.

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Old 10-12-2013, 10:41 PM
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Re: Arrest in "Baby Hope" Case: NYPD

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Originally Posted by IC10021 View Post

CS Muncy for The New York Times
Conrado Juarez, 52, was arrested in the 1991 killing of Anjelica Castillo.

Thank you so much, IC10021

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Old 10-12-2013, 10:45 PM
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Re: Arrest in "Baby Hope" Case: NYPD

John Minchillo/Associated Press
Jerry Giorgio, center, the lead detective in the case, appeared with Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly on Saturday as he announced the arrest of Conrado Juarez in the killing of the girl known as Baby Hope.

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Old 10-12-2013, 10:45 PM
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Re: Arrest in "Baby Hope" Case: NYPD

Sick bastard. I hope he spends the rest of his life in prison. Too bad the woman who helped him hide the baby is already dead.

The baby's mother should be locked up too. She was afraid of the child's father? So what! What about her baby??

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Old 10-12-2013, 11:01 PM
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Re: Arrest in "Baby Hope" Case: NYPD

PICS BELOW:
1) An NYPD detective examines a blue cooler off the Henry Hudson Parkway after the body of a baby girl was found stuffed inside it on July 23, 1991.

2) A police sketch of Baby Hope, whose remains were found in a cooler on July 23, 1991. Police identified her Saturday as 4-year-old Anjelica Castillo.

3) Baby Hope's grave, which did not have a name or identification on it since 1991 until recently.

The headstone is marked “Baby Hope.” Her date of birth was also a mystery when her body was found 22 years ago, so there is just the date of discovery: July 23, 1991.

“We weren’t going to call her Jane Doe,” said Jerry Giorgio, the lead detective on the case of a dead girl found bound and smothered, and dumped in a plastic cooler in Manhattan. Mr. Giorgio, now 79 and retired, visited the grave Tuesday.

He and other detectives collected the money for the headstone and buried her years after she was found. “We are her family,” Detective Giorgio said that day. “We are burying our baby.” He always returned on the anniversary, he said. Much has changed. “She was all alone here,” Mr. Giorgio said of the headstone.


Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/crim...#ixzz2hYyhH0zA

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