New York police arrest man in 1991 ‘Baby Hope’ killing

NEW YORK - New York City police have arrested a cousin in the killing of a 4-year-old girl dubbed "Baby Hope,"whose body was found crammed in a picnic cooler in 1991, police said on Saturday.

Conrado Juarez, 52, early on Saturday confessed to sexually assaulting and then smothering the girl, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly told a news conference.

Police detained him at a Manhattan restaurant on Friday, more than 22 years after the girl's death, he said.

The girl, dubbed "Baby Hope" by investigators, was never reported missing and was only recently identified.

Kelly named her as 4-year-old Anjelica Castillo.

Her bound, asphyxiated body was discovered stuffed underneath cans of soda inside a blue-and-white cooler alongside the Henry Hudson Highway in northern Manhattan in July of 1991.

She had been starved and sexually abused, police said.

New York police announced on Tuesday they had identified the girl's mother after following through on a tip they received over the summer. Her identity was confirmed through DNA testing and she was cooperating with the investigation, they said.

After the girl's death, members of the police department paid for her funeral and many worked for years in hopes of identifying her or her killer.

"Today, NYPD investigators are giving young Anjelica her due justice," Kelly said.

Juarez told investigators that his sister, who has since died, helped him dispose of the girl's body, Kelly said.

New Yorkers for years saw police sketches of the dead child on posters around the city.