Who Killed Baby Hope? New Details On The 1991 Murder Of 4-Year-Old Anjelica Castillo

Photo: WSJ
What Happened To Baby Hope? New Details On The 1991 Killing Of 4-Year-Old Anjelica Castillo
Entertainment And News

In the early '90s, the world was rocked by the disappearance and eventual murder of "Baby Hope," who was later found to be four-year=old Anjelica Castillo many years later. 

The story of Baby Hope's murder is a very long one, with a lot of unexpected plot twists. But ultimately, she was identified — though some parts of her story are still open ended.

So what happened to Baby Hope and who killed Baby Hope?

Here's everything you need to know. 

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Baby Hope's body was found In 1991 and given a public funeral. 

In 1991, the body of an unknown toddler was found inside a cooler in a wooded area in Washington Heights in Manhattan. At the time, police could tell that she had been malnourished and that she'd been sexually abused, but they were unable to identify the body. For the next two years, police were unable to identify her, and in 1993, she was given a public burial with a grave marker bearing the name "Baby Hope." 

After she was exhumed for further investigation, she was finally identified in 2013.

Just because Baby Hope was unable to be identified didn't mean the investigation came to an end. In fact, more than 10 years later, her body was exhumed for DNA tests in 2006, and then again in 2011 as technology continued to progress. They were able to identify Hope by tracing her DNA back to her mother when someone gave a tip to police that they'd talked to a woman who spoke about the case as if she was Baby Hope's mother. It was confirmed that the baby was Anjelica Castillo, and her mother was Margarita Castillo. At the time, Margarita told police that both Anjelica and her older daughter had disappeared with their father, Genaro Ramirez, and while her older daughter had returned home, Anjelica never had. 

Castillo's cousin confessed to killing her.

Conrado Juarez, Anjelica's cousin, ultimately confessed to her murder while talking to police, saying that he'd accidentally suffocated her with a pillow while sexually abusing her.

"What can I do? It happened," he said at the time. "I can't go back in time and change things. I can't go back in time." 

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Allegedly, Castillo's death was an accident, according to Juarez. 

Later, Juarez attempted to take back his confession, claiming that police had coerced him into it. He changed his story to say that Anjelica had fallen down the stairs, leading him and his sister to dispose of her in the cooler, which was a lot different than his original confession. 

Regardless, he remained in custody, awaiting trial.

In 2019, the case was dismissed. 

Juarez ultimately died of pancreatic cancer while in jail in November 2018. In January 2019, the case against him was officially dismissed, given his death, but still, no one knows the whole story for sure.

Need to know more? Baby Hope's case is the focus of the Investigation Discovery series Torn From The Headlines in an episode called "Baby Hope."

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Nicole Pomarico is an entertainment and lifestyle writer whose work has appeared in Cosmo, Us Weekly, Refinery29, and more.

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