Chief Investigative Reporter Jonathan Dienst on crime, corruption and terrorism.

Baby Hope's Tombstone Newly Engraved With Slain Girl's Real Name

Holy water and tears marked the unveiling of the headstone, newly engraved with the name Anjelica Castillo

View Comments ()



    More than 20 years after her body was discovered in a cooler off of the Henry Hudson Parkway, Baby Hope's real name is now on her grave. Roseanne Colletti reports. (Published Friday, Nov 15, 2013)

    The family of the slain 4-year-old girl known for decades as Baby Hope and the investigators who spent years tracking down her killer got some closure Friday as her real name was finally put on her tombstone. 

    Holy water and tears marked the unveiling of the headstone, newly engraved with the name Anjelica Castillo below the only name she's had for decades, Baby Hope. The Rev. 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" Cousin Arrested in 1991 Cold Case: NYPD

    [NY] "Baby Hope" Cousin Arrested in 1991 Cold Case: NYPD
    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. Checkey Beckford reports. (Published Sunday, Oct 13, 2013)

    Her 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. 

    Mom of "Baby Hope" Reveals Why She Didn't Call Police

    [NY] Mom of "Baby Hope" Reveals Why She Didn't Call Police
    The mother of the girl known as "Baby Hope" after her body was mysteriously dumped in the woods in 1991 revealed for the first time Tuesday that she didn't report the girl missing because she was afraid no one would listen after the child's father took her. Ida Siegal has more. (Published Tuesday, Oct 15, 2013)

    In 1991, the body of then 4-year-old Anjelica was discovered in a cooler by the highway near Washington Heights. She had been sexually abused and suffocated. 

    "We couldn't imagine how anybody could be so cruel to such an innocent little child," said retired detective Jerry Giorgio. 

    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 Resnick.

    Last July, police relaunched their efforts on the 22nd anniversary of the date the slain child was found, blitzing Washington Heights with posters bearing her sketch. The very next day, Crime Stoppers got a call. 

    Detective 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." 

    In October, police announced the arrest of 52-year-old Conrado Juarez, a cousin on Anjelica's father's side. Juarez, who has said he was coerced into a confession, was charged with murder and is due back in court Thursday. 

    Get the latest from NBC 4 New York anywhere, anytimeiPhone/iPad App | Twitter | Facebook | Email Newsletters Send Us News Tips | Google+ | Instagram | RSS