As the man who police say killed 4-year-old Baby Hope sits in jail, his neighbors are reacting to the break in the case that investigators have pursued for more than two decades. NY1's Michael Herzenberg filed the following report.
Prosecutors say Conrado Juarez admitted he sexually assaulted and smothered 4-year-old Anjelica Castillo 22 years ago.
"It's a just a tragic story," said one neighbor.
Some neighbors where Juarez lives in Morris Heights are surprised the killing was buried in his past, others are not.
"He was always like a quiet man, he didn't talk to anybody," said one neighbor.
"It didn't actually shock me, because everybody knows he kept to himself a lot, but he was weird, it was weird, we always knew something was wrong with him, just couldn't pinpoint it," said another neighbor.
Police say after the then 30-year-old took the life of little Anjelica, who was his cousin, he enlisted the help of his sister, who is now deceased.
"Juarez said she directed him to get rid of the body, and brought him the cooler. The brother and sister then left the apartment with the cooler, hailed a black livery cab and were dropped off in Manhattan," said Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.
On July 23, 1991, construction workers found the ice chest with the body inside along an embankment of the Henry Hudson Parkway.
Authorities named her Baby Hope, hoping to identify her and one day solve the mystery of what happened. Each year, officers publicized the case and this past July a tip led police to the child's sister and a DNA match to the mother.
Now Baby Hope has a name and detectives say they've named her killer.
Juarez pleaded not guilty to second degree murder.
The judge on Saturday ordered him held without bail.