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Thread: Baby Hope's Mother Identified 22 Years After Notorious Murder Of 4-Year-Old Girl

  1. #1
    mjw is offline
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    Default Baby Hope's Mother Identified 22 Years After Notorious Murder Of 4-Year-Old Girl

    By Murray Weiss
    MANHATTAN — The NYPD has cracked one of the city’s most notorious cold case murders — the killing of a child known only as “Baby Hope” whose body was found stuffed in a cooler 22 years ago, DNAinfo New York has learned.

    Sources say detectives have located Baby Hope’s mother in Washington Heights and have confirmed her biological link to the slain 4-year-old girl through a DNA match.

    The NYPD has now turned its focus on finding Baby Hope’s father who, sources say, ran off with the little girl and her older sister just months before Baby Hope’s body was found on July 23, 1991, according to the mother’s account.

    The man, whose name is being withheld, is being sought as a person of interest in the girl’s death.

    The break in the decades-old mystery unfolded last week when DNAInfo New York learned about the dramatic development.

    A tipster — herself a mother in Washington Heights — reached out to the police and reported that she might know the identity and whereabouts of Baby Hope’s mother.

    She told investigators that she was washing her clothing in a local laundry a couple of years ago and overheard a woman talking about the Baby Hope case and saying she believed she was the dead child’s mother.

    The tipster did not think to call police at the time, but said she was prompted to come forward when she saw recent news reports about the 22nd anniversary of the killing.

    Over the years, two generations of detectives had followed scores of false leads about Baby Hope, only to wind up in dead ends. The plight of one lead detective was detailed in a recent “On The Inside” column.

    Despite understandable skepticism, several cold case detectives tracked down the laundry woman – and this time they hit pay dirt.

    The woman, whose name is being withheld, is of Mexican descent.

    She provided a DNA sample for police and then spent two days late last week unburdening herself to detectives and prosecutors from the Manhattan District Attorney's office with a gut-wrenching and bizarre tale of guilt, torment and fear.

    Frequently breaking down in tears, she said she had two daughters and had been married to a brutish husband who vanished early in 1991 — taking both her children with him.

    She insisted she wanted to go to the police, but was terrified of what her husband might do to her or, worse still, her girls, if he found out. She hoped they would return unharmed.

    Instead, she said, her worst nightmare became reality.

    On July 23, 1991, the body of a girl, approximately her younger daughter’s age, was discovered in Inwood Park.

    Parkway construction workers stumbled upon a cooler in a bucolic section along the Henry Hudson Parkway. When they pushed it over, a mixture of water and Coca-Cola spilled out.

    They were also hit with the unmistakable odor of a decomposed body that turned out to be that of a badly malnourished girl, virtually a skeleton, weighing 28 pounds. She was hog-tied, naked and wrapped in a plastic bag.

    Detectives theorized whoever killed her placed her body in the cooler and covered her with Coke cans and ice to mask their crime. The summer sun not only melted the ice but also popped the soda cans, which destroyed forensic evidence.

    An autopsy later disclosed she had been smothered and was dead about a week. There were signs of sexual abuse but that was never proven by science. An anthropologist determined she was 4-years-old.

    Even in a city ravaged by crime with 2,000 murders a year, the grim find was front-page news.

    The discovery sent chills through the mother, she told police, and only made her more fearful.

    Detectives, meanwhile, believed there would be a quick resolution to the killing. After all, most child deaths involve a relative and the police expected someone to report the child missing and help crack the case.

    The NYPD kept the child’s body in the city morgue for two years. Finally, cops decided it was time to organize a proper funeral and burial for the little girl. They had referred to her only as "the baby" before Sgt. Robert Maas came up with "Baby Hope."

    On July 23, 1993, Baby Hope — wearing a communion dress provided by Catherine Giorgio, whose husband, Jerry, was among the first detectives to find her body — was placed in a tiny coffin.

    Roughly 500 mourners, most of them children and cops, packed St. Elizabeth’s Church on Wadsworth Avenue for her funeral before she was laid to rest in St. Raymond’s Cemetery in the Bronx.

    Her black headstone was engraved with her moniker, the date she was found, and the words, “Because We Care.”

    The detectives held out hope they would eventually get a break. Some even returned to the grave on the anniversary to pay their respects and hoped to find a clue from a guilt-ridden relative.

    But they remained in the dark about another development, Baby Hope's mother told them.

    About eight years after her children disappeared, the mother's eldest daughter — now a full–grown teenager — suddenly showed up at her mother’s door, she told detectives. The mother said she did not ask her eldest daughter what happened to her younger daughter, apparently because she already knew the truth and did not want to traumatize her surviving daughter and risk driving her away.

    “She said they apparently never talked about it,” one law enforcement source said, explaining that detectives are trying to verify details of her account.

    The sources did not say how Baby Hope's mother supported herself, or what was her current relationship with her surviving daughter. She went on to have children with at least one other man, sources said.

    As of now, she is not considered a suspect in the child’s death and there are no immediate thoughts of bringing any charges against her, sources said.

    “She is being treated as a victim,” one law enforcement source said.

    The NYPD has instead turned its full attention to finding Baby Hope’s father. As of Monday, investigators continued scouring records to determine if he is dead or alive and, if so, where he might be.

    Deputy Commissioner John McCarthy, the department's spokesman, said only that the case remains "under active investigation."
    Baby Hope's Mother Identified 22 Years After Notorious Murder Of 4-Year-Old Girl In NYC

  2. #2
    Elite Member nwgirl's Avatar
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    Too sad. Never fails to surprise me how evil human beings can be.
    "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits."

  3. #3
    Elite Member Beeyotch's Avatar
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    Ok wait a minute, I would definitely ask the older kid what the hell happened to my other kidnapped 4-year-old. Sure, the trauma is there for the older girl, but if I were that mother I can't imagine not knowing.

  4. #4
    Gold Member Makisa's Avatar
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    This makes me furious on so many levels and at so many different people. That poor sweet baby.

  5. #5
    Elite Member KrisNine's Avatar
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    I've read about this case for years. Very heartbreaking. I don't know, I'm not really able to let the mom off so freely. I understand that she feared for her children, but once she heard about the dead child in the cooler and thought it was one of her daughters, wouldn't she want to go to the police to get help for the other daughter? Or after the surviving daughter shows up on her doorstep? I don't know.

  6. #6
    Elite Member Kathie_Moffett's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KrisNine View Post
    I've read about this case for years. Very heartbreaking. I don't know, I'm not really able to let the mom off so freely. I understand that she feared for her children, but once she heard about the dead child in the cooler and thought it was one of her daughters, wouldn't she want to go to the police to get help for the other daughter? Or after the surviving daughter shows up on her doorstep? I don't know.
    I'm with you. Something's very off with this woman.
    Did you know that every time a parent gives in to their kid's whines and buys them candy at the checkout lane, a kitten gets diabetes?-Dlisted
    I dislike groups of people, but I love individuals. Every person you look at, you can see the universe in their eyes, if you're really looking.
    -George Carlin

  7. #7
    mjw is offline
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    Default 'Baby Hope' has a name, a suspect in her death, NYPD announces

    -- Twenty-two years later, she has a name.

    The little girl known only as "Baby Hope," whose abused and decomposed body was found on 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 hasn't yet been charged.

    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.

    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. Charges are still being developed, and it's not known yet when Juarez will be arraigned, 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 plastic bag 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 sexually assaulted her and then smothered 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.

    The two hailed a cab to Manhattan, dropped the cooler off in a wooded area near the parkway, and then went their separate ways, Kelly 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.
    NYPD arrests man in killing of 'Baby Hope' -

  8. #8
    Elite Member Kat Scorp's Avatar
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    That's nauseating, horrific and confusing as fuck. The scond article says the murdered baby's sister was identified before the mother was tracked down (?); can't journalists get any facts straight? After the second article, I'm suspecting the story of the two girls being abducted by their father was a lie and the mother knew her four year old was raped and murdered by the nephew/cousin (?).

    I want to throw up.

  9. #9
    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    Poor tiny girl. Not one adult in her life protected her. Savage attack and he needs killing. Now.
    I didn't start out to collect diamonds, but somehow they just kept piling up.-Mae West

  10. #10
    Elite Member MmeVertigina's Avatar
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    I cannot quit reading this as "Bob Hope's mother..." so inappropriate, but it keeps happening. This story made me feel ill.

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