Before she came to be known as Baby Hope, Anjelica Castillo lived with seven people in the Queens apartment where she was killed. None of them spoke up when she vanished one summer day.

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Normal Before she came to be known as Baby Hope, Anjelica Castillo lived with seven people in the Queens apartment where she was killed. None of them spoke up when she vanished one summer day.

Post by Wrapitup on Mon Oct 14, 2013 6:46 am

By J. DAVID GOODMAN
Published: October 13, 2013

Cousin Arrested in ‘Baby Hope’ Killing After 22 Years (October 13, 2013)

Conrado Juarez was arraigned on Saturday.
Neither did her parents, who never reported the girl missing, nor did at least two of her sisters, who spoke of it to each other but not to the authorities.

A livery-cab driver reportedly ferried her killer, an accomplice and the blue cooler packed with her body under soda cans to near the spot where it would be found by the side of a Manhattan highway in 1991. Images of the cooler circulated widely in the news media, but the cabby never came forward either.

For 22 years, as detectives pleaded for information in the killing of the unidentified young girl and scoured the city for leads, those who knew the answers kept quiet about what they had seen or heard. Indeed, more than a half-dozen of Anjelica’s relatives carried part or all of the haunting secret of her disappearance.

So it was that while the police and prosecutors said Saturday they had solved one mystery, charging her cousin Conrado Juarez with the killing, another disturbing question arose: how could so many have remained silent for so long?

At Mr. Juarez’s arraignment late Saturday, the prosecutor, Melissa Mourges, said interviews with Anjelica’s mother and with “other family members led to this defendant,” though she did not describe what each person knew about how or why the young girl had disappeared. Mr. Juarez, 52, was taken into custody early Friday outside an Italian restaurant in Greenwich Village, where he worked in the kitchen.

From early in the questioning, investigators were suspicious. Mr. Juarez claimed to be ignorant of basic facts, including whether he knew Anjelica, according to a law enforcement official who, like others who spoke about the case, requested anonymity because the case is continuing.

That was the first red flag, the official said. Over the course of several hours, Mr. Juarez “made statements admitting that he forced sexual contact with the child” and that “during that act, he put a pillow over her face, suffocating her,” said Ms. Mourges, now the head of the Manhattan district attorney’s cold case unit and the original prosecutor on the Baby Hope case in 1991.

According to the authorities, Mr. Juarez said he had enlisted the help of Balvina Juarez-Ramirez, his sister and the child’s caretaker, and that she recommended placing the body in the cooler and depositing it far from their Astoria apartment. Detectives believe Ms. Juarez-Ramirez died around 1995.

Mr. Juarez’s lawyer, Michael J. Croce, said Sunday that his client denied the charges and disputed the “miraculous confession,” which came after Mr. Juarez had been “interrogated for 12 to 14 hours.” He said prosecutors had not shown him the statement or said whether there is forensic evidence tying Mr. Juarez to the crime. He added that Mr. Juarez did not speak much English.

Detectives are looking into further allegations of sexual abuse by Mr. Juarez, according to another law enforcement official, who said on Sunday that recent developments in the murder case had unearthed accusations that he had abused other cousins and other family members. The official also said that some investigators believed the sexual attack that immediately preceded Anjelica’s killing may not have been the first time Mr. Juarez abused her.

In New York, there is no statute of limitations for the most serious sex crimes against children.


The gravity of the accusations seemed to hit Mr. Juarez before his arraignment. Other inmates at the Manhattan detention complex near the courts shouted that he was “a child rapist,” and urged correction officers to put him into their cells, a law enforcement official said. Mr. Juarez is being held in protective custody.

“He was scared to death,” the official added.

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Last edited by Wrapitup on Mon Oct 14, 2013 6:51 am; edited 2 times in total

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Normal Re: Before she came to be known as Baby Hope, Anjelica Castillo lived with seven people in the Queens apartment where she was killed. None of them spoke up when she vanished one summer day.

Post by Wrapitup on Mon Oct 14, 2013 6:49 am

'Baby Hope' has a name, a suspect in her death, NYPD announces
By Melissa Gray, CNN
updated 6:18 AM EDT, Sun October 13, 2013

(CNN) -- Twenty-two years later, she has a name.
The little girl known only as "Baby Hope," whose abused and decomposed body was found in an ice chest by the side of a New York roadway in 1991, is 4-year-old Anjelica Castillo, New York police announced Saturday.
Police also announced the arrest of the man they say killed Anjelica and dumped her body along the Henry Hudson Parkway. The man, Conrado Juarez, 52, is the girl's cousin. He has been charged with murder.
Detectives from the New York Police Department's Cold Case Apprehension Squad never stopped searching for answers in the case. Each year, on the anniversary of the July 23, 1991, discovery of her body, they would canvass nearby neighborhoods, handing out fliers and asking people for information.
Who was the girl? Who was her family? Who killed her?
It was an anonymous tip called in after the latest canvass in July that helped crack the case, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said. It led detectives to Anjelica's sister, now an adult; from there, they identified the woman believed to be the girl's mother, he said.
"That individual's actions were the catalyst for this most recent lead," Kelly said, referring to Juarez's arrest. He is Anjelica's cousin on her father's side.
NYPD make arrest in 'Baby Hope' case NYPD gives details in 'Baby Hope' case
Police arrested Juarez after questioning him near the Manhattan restaurant where he worked as a dishwasher, Kelly said. He was expressionless as police led him in handcuffs past reporters.
Juarez admitted to the crime Saturday morning, Kelly said.
"Today, NYPD investigators have given young Anjelica her due justice," said Chief of Detectives Phil Pulaski.
Construction workers found the body of Anjelica -- who was never reported missing -- bound and in a garbage bag, hidden under some soda cans inside a blue and white cooler. She had been smothered and sexually molested, and her body was so badly decomposed that several sketches were made to suggest what she looked like.
Two years after she was found, the girl was laid to rest in a donated plot, buried in a white dress bought by a detective's wife, with a tombstone paid for by detectives. "Because we care" is the inscription at the bottom of the tombstone, Pulaski said.
Juarez, who was 30 at the time of the crime, said he went to an apartment in Queens shared by seven of his relatives and saw Anjelica in the hallway, Kelly said. Juarez told police he smothered her with a pillow while raping her.
When the girl went motionless, Juarez told police, he summoned his sister from another room. It was the sister who told Juarez to get rid of the body and who provided the cooler, Kelly said. He then "folded the girl in half," tied her, placed her in a garbage bag inside the cooler and placed soda cans on top of her body, said New York Assistant District Attorney Melissa Mourges during Juaraez's arraignment Saturday night.
Juarez and his sister hailed a cab to Manhattan, dropped the cooler off in a wooded area near the parkway, and then went their separate ways, authorities said.
The sister, Balvena Juarez Ramirez, is deceased, Kelly said.
Retired Det. Jerry Giorgio, who worked on the case from the start, said he was "elated" at news of the arrest.
"You know the expression, 'I'm on cloud nine'? Well, that's where I am right now," Giorgio told reporters.
Giorgio told CNN the killer's identity was out of the blue. He said he was certain the killer was Anjelica's mother, father, or both.
Changes in forensic science also helped propel the investigation, Kelly said. The girl's body was exhumed in 2006, and a DNA profile was built in 2011. Earlier this month the office of the chief medical examiner made a DNA match between the girl and her mother.
From there, investigators constructed a family tree, and the trail led them to Juarez, Kelly said.
Kelly praised the "phenomenal persistence" of the detectives who originally worked on the case and those now working with the cold case squad. "They were unrelenting," he said.

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Normal Re: Before she came to be known as Baby Hope, Anjelica Castillo lived with seven people in the Queens apartment where she was killed. None of them spoke up when she vanished one summer day.

Post by Wrapitup on Mon Oct 14, 2013 6:53 am


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Normal Re: Before she came to be known as Baby Hope, Anjelica Castillo lived with seven people in the Queens apartment where she was killed. None of them spoke up when she vanished one summer day.

Post by Wrapitup on Mon Oct 14, 2013 6:57 am

Archives

COLLECTIONS
No Name, Few Clues: The Case of 'Baby Hope'
By RALPH BLUMENTHAL
Published: September 21, 1991
*Correction Appended

On a scorching weekday morning in July, Bob Perdue, a highway maintenance supervisor, was working with two of his crew on the southbound lanes of the Henry Hudson Parkway on the skinny northern neck of Manhattan.

Beyond the right-hand shoulder of the road, just north of the Dyckman Street exit, the land falls steeply away to the Hudson River. There, at the base of a tree, half covered with branches and leaves, he saw it -- an iridescent blue picnic cooler.

The find began one of the most mystifying cases in the memory of the 34th Precinct detective squad. Even in a precinct that often leads New York City in killings, homicide No. 79 of 1991 stands out.

Inside the cooler, under full cans of Coca-Cola, was the decomposing body of a child, a malnourished little girl who, tests later suggested, had been sexually abused. After nearly two months of intensive investigation, detectives have not only been unable to identify any suspects; they also still have no idea who the girl is -- and why her parents or relatives have apparently never reported her missing.

"It's hard for me to believe that nobody knows who she is," said Detective Joseph Neenan, the officer in charge of the case. Usually, he said, the police put out flyers with detailed descriptions of children who are missing. "We have the opposite," he said. "We have her. We don't know who she is."

The search for the identity and the killer of Baby Hope, as the police call the child, has touched a nerve both in the investigators and in the public, eliciting pledges for funeral expenses and even gifts for the dead child.

The search also stands as a paradigm of the way a major homicide case is worked: Top pathologists, missing-person specialists and detectives -- stymied by blind alleys -- have joined forces to capitalize on the slimmest of clues. Investigators have chased down tips from nearly 100 hot-line calls, roused children from their beds to verify that they were not missing, canvassed Coca-Cola deliverers, hunted for a lone carload of supposed witnesses and even warily consulted a psychic.

"No other case gets to you like a child's case," said Jerry Giorgio, a veteran homicide detective who over three decades has worked on some of the city's biggest cases. "Does it make you stay longer?," he asked. "Work harder? Absolutely!" A Few Small Clues; Many Big Questions

The search began on July 23, a Tuesday, when Mr. Perdue, working for the Jana Construction Company of Yonkers on the stretch of roadway north of Dyckman Street, sighted the Igloo cooler about 50 feet down the hill along a path through the underbrush. The workers had been bothered for days by a foul smell from the woods, and he ordered two men to investigate.

The cooler was covered with torn-off tree branches. The men tipped it over, spilling out some liquid, the soda cans and a black plastic garbage bag. A strong stench drove them away, but they returned with a shovel and cut open the bag. They saw a leg and an arm, and fled to report the find.

All the police could see at first was that the body was a child's, tied up, doubled-over, with a cord running from the neck to under the knees. The features were decomposed. "If that was my child I wouldn't have known who it was," said Detective Neenan.

In the police lab, technicians found no fingerprints. The prints may have been coated or erased by the caustic body chemicals.

But if the facts were few, investigators had some ideas. The very location suggested something to them. "We were confident it was someone from the New York area," Detective Giorgio said. "That area was known by whoever put the body there."

And from the Igloo company, detectives learned that the cooler was made in 1989 in East Houston, Tex. The company was able to determine that 79 coolers of that batch had been shipped to New York State. But the dealers did not keep records of purchasers.

Detective Neenan took photos of the body to the Police Department's art unit for a sketch. Officer Robert Philios, one of the artists, was not optimistic. He had no distinct features to go on.

The next afternoon, the Medical Examiner's office called with preliminary autopsy results. The black-haired child, who was white and possibly Hispanic, was about 4 years old and stood 3 feet 2 inches tall. The remains weighed 20 pounds, 5 or 10 less than when she died, pathologists estimated. Eye color and blood type were no longer ascertainable.

She was nude except for an elastic hair band with two colored balls, suggesting that she may have worn her hair in a pony tail. She had no broken bones and no discernible bruises, although the decomposition made it hard to tell. Her condition suggested that she had been in the cooler three to five days, but could have been there up to two weeks if there had been ice in it. Death was attributed to "homicidal asphyxia" -- smothering.

Sgt. Mark Giffen, who works in the examiner's office and is a licensed mortician, filled out the face with cotton. "For the first time," said Detective Neenan, "I could see a child."

Based on new photographs, another department artist, Frank Domingo, was able to make a sketch that highlighted what was probably a distinctive facial feature: parted lips and prominent front teeth. Depicting the child as gaunt from malnourishment also seemed to age her well beyond her years; she looked almost teen-aged. But with little else to go on, the sketch was released on July 25, along with a hot line number, (212) 598-0071. In a Deluge of Calls, One That Tantalizes

Predictably, detectives were deluged with calls -- 66 in the first four days. One woman said the picture resembled the daughter of her cousin, a drug addict in East Harlem. "I haven't seen the girl in months," she said.

Another caller urged detectives to look for a woman and two men in an apartment on West 107th Street. "Ask them about the cooler," he said. Detective Giorgio tracked down the apartment's occupants. One was a healthy young girl. The caller, he surmised, was a disgruntled neighbor.

Improbably, three callers in widely separated parts of the metropolitan area alerted the police to the same woman who, all said, was notoriously abusive of her daughter. She may have been -- but the daughter was alive.

Three days into the investigation, Detective Giorgio took a call from a woman dialing from a pay phone. She said she had seen something on the parkway about two weeks earlier, but, she said, her family didn't want to get involved.

The detective coaxed out a few details. The woman said she and her family had been driving past the site on Sunday morning, July 14, when they saw a man and a woman walking north on the east side of the parkway, carrying a cooler.

That was all she was going to say. Detective Giorgio begged her to stay on the line. At least, he appealed, she could tell him what they looked like.

In the background he could hear what sounded like store noises, perhaps a cash register. The woman was out shopping somewhere, he guessed. He offered to call her back. "No! No!" the caller replied, sounding panicked. She dropped in some more coins and let slip that she was from Westchester.

She refused to say more, but finally agreed to call back using a pseudonym, Judy Brown.

She didn't call. In desperation Detective Giorgio gave the story to the Westchester papers, appealing for Judy Brown to call. A few days later, a younger-sounding woman hesitantly called -- the daughter, Detective Giorgio surmised. She described the couple on the road as Hispanic, possibly "Mexican or South American," the man about 5 foot 6 in his 40's with a light brown complexion and dark hair. He was wearing a brown sports jacket. The woman, she said, was about the same height and age. She had a light brown complexion and shoulder-length dark hair. She was wearing a gray dress and high heels -- hardly picnic attire, the detective thought.

The description prompted questions: Why were the couple walking along a highway? How did they get there? If by car, where did they leave it? If by foot, didn't other people see them?

It remains a tantalizing clue. But no other witnesses have come forward. Computer Codes And Lab Analysis

On July 29, detectives spoke to Coca -Cola's regional manager of technical services, Thomas Smith, who told them of an inked code on the bottom of cans that shows where they were made. But the markings were missing on the cans. Tests indicated they had not been erased but had probably dissolved from the putrifaction in the cooler.

But Mr. Smith was able to read another code on the cans' sides showing that they were made in Danbury, Conn., on June 18, and shipped to the Coca-Cola plant on East 149th Street in the Bronx near the Hunts Point Market. Detectives Neenan and Giorgio visited the market at 4:30 the next morning, giving Coca-Cola deliverers 6,000 fliers with the girl's sketch.

On Aug. 1, the Medical Examiner's office called in a consultant, Peggy C. Caldwell, a forensic anthropologist affiliated with Rutgers University. She urged investigators to expand rather than narrow the field. She said the child was not necessarily Hispanic, and, judging from the fact that she had all her baby teeth but none of her adult teeth, was anywhere from 3 to 5.

Ms. Caldwell also said that when a body decomposes in a small space, blood tends to discolor the teeth. The girl's teeth were only slightly discolored. She concluded that the body had started to decompose elsewhere and that it had been put in the cooler later, perhaps to move it.

On the basis of Judy Brown's date of July 14, detectives sealed off the southbound parkway on Aug. 4, also a Sunday, stopping motorists to hand them leaflets and the sketch of the girl. The aim was to make contact with the woman or her relatives, who might be making regular Sunday excursions to the city, as well as any other witnesses.

In all, on that day and others, some 10,000 leaflets were distributed.

A tip came from an informant that someone was going around the neighborhood showing a photo of a man said to be the killer. The family wanted the killer alive, the story went, and was willing to pay $15,000. Excited, detectives fanned out, but discovered that the man in the photo was wanted in connection with a drug vendetta; the little girl was being invoked as a way of smoking him out. Frustrated and disgusted, they abandoned that trail.

On Aug. 28, the Medical Examiner's office reported dramatic new information. Laboratory tests now revealed traces of semen, suggesting that the girl had been sexually abused. The tests yielded little more. But the results strengthened suspicions that the killer may have been a close male relative, the father or stepfather, in keeping with a pattern often seen in child sex abuse cases. The fact that the family had not reported the child missing buttressed the idea.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in Arlington, Va., helped prepare a new picture, using a computer to mesh various facial characteristics, which Officer Domingo then fashioned into a new sketch that was released on Sept. 11. Now, Officers Search For New Approaches

Along with the false leads, the case has elicited an outpouring of compassion. Close to two dozen callers, including representatives of a funeral home and a cemetery, have offered to pay for the girl's burial when her body is eventually released by the Medical Examiner's office. One young woman who wrote that she was single and unemployed also offered money and sent in a pink ribbon for the child, whom she said she was calling "Ariel."

"I call her 'Ariel' after 'The Little Mermaid,' " she wrote, "because all little girls want to be a little mermaid. Please put the ribbon in her hair. She deserves it."

Like his men, Lieutenant Reznick went back to the scene several times, looking for missed clues. "Usually I get a sense of what took place," he said. But this location was hard to read. Why there? "If you look around," he said, "there are a million and one other places they could have gone."

He acknowledged that some of his men have talked to a psychic, who has visited the site and "calls periodically if she has a dream."

"Green comes to her, the color or a name, an old-type station wagon and an underpass," Lieutenant Resnick said with a shrug. "But God forbid she tells you something you ignore that turns out to be good."

Now, he is looking for unconventional approaches. Watching a video of "Kindergarten Cop" with his sons gave him the idea of tapping schools for help. Perhaps teachers around the city could ask pupils about family members and neighbors, on the chance that one might mention a missing sister or friend. He said the Board of Education has agreed to try it.

One night last week a caller phoned in another tip on the case involving a car in the Bronx. It would prove to be another dead end, but Detectives Neenan and Giorgio and the Lieutenant set off to check it out.

"You got the cuffs, Joe?" Detective Giorgio asked. "Just in case."

*Correction: September 23, 1991, Monday, Late Edition - Final An article on Saturday about the New York City police investigation into the case of a young girl whose body was found in a picnic cooler rendered the name of the officer in charge incompletely. He is Lieut. Joseph Reznick.

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Normal Re: Before she came to be known as Baby Hope, Anjelica Castillo lived with seven people in the Queens apartment where she was killed. None of them spoke up when she vanished one summer day.

Post by Wrapitup on Tue Oct 15, 2013 11:00 pm


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