Investigators and family of the killed 4-year-old girl known for decades as Baby Hope got some closure Friday as her real name was finally put on her tombstone.
The headstone is now engraved with the name Anjelica Castillo below the only name she’s had for decades, Baby Hope.
Father Rudy Gonzalez declared at the ceremony at St. Raymond’s Cemetery in the Bronx: “Bless the engraving of Anjelica’s name and bless any child who at this moment may be suffering at the hands of evil hearts.”
Baby Hope’s mother and other family members left flowers and candles for a loved one who would now be 26 years old.
“I’m just glad that her name is on her stone,” said the girl’s sister Lorena Castillo.
In 1991, the body of 4-year-old Anjelica was discovered in a cooler by the highway near Washington Heights. She had been abused and suffocated.
“We couldn’t imagine how anybody could be so cruel to such an innocent little child,” said retired detective Jerry Giorgio.
Jerry Giorgio and retired chief Joseph Resnick were lead investigators on the original case, one that went cold but was never forgotten. Police gave the unknown child the name Baby Hope and paid for her tombstone.
“I’m sad, the fact that we have a dead little girl who should now be 26 years old, vibrant, working, perhaps bearing children herself,” said Joseph Resnick.
Last July, police re-launched their efforts on the 22nd anniversary of the date the child was found, blitzing Washington Heights with posters bearing her sketch. The very next day, Crime Stoppers got a call.
Det. Elena Donnell said the caller “gave specific family members, where to look – ethnicity, origin, approximate dates of birth, and she turned out to be right.”
The case broke wide open in October with the arrest of 52-year-old Conrado Juarez, a cousin on Anjelica Castillo’s father’s side. Conrado Juarez, who has said he was coerced into a cofenssion, was charged with murder and is due back in court November 21.
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