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Prayer Service Held For 'Baby Hope'

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TWC News: Prayer Service Held For 'Baby Hope'
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It was a day of happiness and sadness as a prayer service was held Friday for the girl known as "Baby Hope," who was murdered more than 20 years ago. NY1's Dean Meminger filed the following report.

Known to most as "Baby Hope," she was only 4 years old when she was murdered in 1991. Now that police have discovered who she was, her name, Anjelica Castillo, has been placed on her headstone.

"Bless the engraving of Anjelica's name, and bless any child who at this moment my be suffering at the hands of evil hearts," said the Rev. Rudy Gonzalez.

Anjelica's body was found stuffed in a cooler near the Henry Hudson Parkway 22 years ago.

New Yorkers, including police, were heartbroken by the crime and the fact that no one came forward to report the child missing.

Detectives from the 34th Precinct named her Baby Hope and refused to allow her body to be placed at Potters Field, the usual burial site for those unclaimed. Instead, they arranged for her final resting place to be at St. Raymond's Cemetery in the Bronx in 1993.

Jerry Giorgio was one of the original detectives on the case.

"That was our wish and our hope, that the day would come that someone would step up and give us the information that would solve this case," Giorgio said.

That's exactly what happened this summer. On the anniversary of her death, police again reached out for information, and a tip came in. Baby Hope was identified.

Detective Robert Dewhurst works in the NYPD's cold case squad.

"Afterwards, I interviewed the mother," he said. "I had the information, I received the information of who her daughter was and who she was with, and then, within eight or nine days, I was able to arrest the person responsible."

Her cousin, Conrado Juarez, is charged with the girl's death. His next court hearing is on Thursday.

Anjelica's mother and family members are still grieving her death. So are members of her adopted family, the NYPD.

"The sad part is is that her life was taken at the age of four," said Chief Joseph Reznick of the NYPD. "I picture here now as a 26-year-old woman, possibly having children of her own. But all that's been taken away from her."

Her memory and name now live on.

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