July 23, 1991, construction workers found what looked to be a normal
cooler, the kind people use to carry food, ice and cold drinks for
camping or picnicking. When they opened the cooler, they found the
decomposing body of a child. The child would go unrecognized for 22
years, though her headstone bore the name "Baby Hope".
Baby Hope was malnourished and after being examined and tested, it was
shown that she had suffered sexual abuse and her cause of death was
asphyxia. No claims of missing children had been filed and her body was
so badly decomposed that it was hard to make out her facial features.
Baby Hope was naked except for a hair tie with yellow baubles attached
Police made every effort to find out who this little Angel was and
their attempts failed. Baby Hope was buried two years later with
the Police of the 34th Precinct coming together to raise the money to
give her a proper burial.
Baby Hope was wearing a white communion dress when she was buried and
her gravestone bore the name she had been given by those who seemed to
have cared about her more than anyone who actually knew her. Complete
strangers gave her a headstone with the inscription: "Because We Care"
2007, Baby Hope's body was exhumed in hopes that a DNA sample could be
taken and possibly help to identify who she was. Unfortunately, this
little Angels body was not giving up anything at that time. In 2011,
with improved means of testing for DNA, a second attempt was successful
and an immediate check was made of all convicted felons and missing
persons databases, once again, they came up empty handed.
Police were not giving up and in October of 2013, a sketch was made of
the face of this little Angel and posters were hung up.
Thankfully a tip came in from someone who said they thought she might
be the sister of someone who was a full grown women by this time. The
tip lead Police to family of the girl and the family was able to let
them know who her mother was as well as let them know that her name was
Anjelica's biological mother was confirmed through DNA and she told
Police that she had lived in fear of the biological father of Anjelica,
saying that was why she had never filed a missing persons report for
her daughter, she had always believed that he had something to do with
her disappearance. When they split up, the father took Anjelica and
another of the three daughters and the mother was left with only one
child, another girl. As it turned out, she was wrong, Conrado was a
cousin and he confessed to Police what he had done.
Police were finally going to learn what had happened to this precious
little girl. Angelica had been staying with friends because her
parents were fighting and had split up. Anjelica had been staying with
family on her father's side, when the brother of the Balvina
Juarez-Ramirez, who lived in the home, was visiting. Conrado Juarez
sexually assaulted Anjelica and then suffocated her, she was only four
years old. Conrado said that when Anjelica had gone completely still,
he went and got his sister who told him to get rid of her body
and brought him a cooler to put the child in. Taking a cab to Manhattan
from Queens, the two monsters dumped the cooler and went home. Neither
Conrado or Balvina ever spoke about what happened, again. At the time
this information was given to Police, Conrado's sister had already
died. A report said that Balvina had been suspected of abusing other
children at times with her brother and at other times, without him
Conrado Juarez, who was by then 52 year old, was arrested and charged
with murder. At his arraignment, even though he had already confessed
to the crime and told Police what had happened, he plead not guilty to
second degree murder and there was no bail set. Defense Attorney
Michael Croce said that the alleged confession was completely suspect
adding that Conrado had been questioned for 13 hours straight and that
a Police translator had been the one to help in the questioning:
problematic for me"
Michael Croce said that it was difficult to account for accuracy in
cases where an interpreter had to be used. Conrado changed his story
saying that Anjelica had fallen down the stairs in his sisters home and
died and that she had asked him to help her get rid of the body. It
would eventually be brought up that the questions had not been tape
recorded, but some how, the confession was.
Margarita Castillo and her daughter spoke to reporters, in Spanish,
through a closed door:
"You can't even
describe a punishment You won't understand the pain.
We are just waiting for justice. We are not going to have peace"
"When my mom saw the drawing, she said Anjelica would've looked like
me if she were alive. She said I look like her"
Laurencita Ramirez - Sister To Anjelica
that at the age of 11, she had learned she had a sister who had been
killed, but she had not learned about the Baby Hope cause until just
had never given up on finding out who the little Angel was:
"They made it their
mission to identify this young child, to lay her to rest and bring her
killer to justice"
Attorney - Cyrus Vance Jr.
the years the optimism was always there, except the frustration would
grow. But you know
reflecting back on what we named this little girl, Baby Hope, I think
that's the most accurate
we could have come up with. And it worked:
Chief - Joseph J. Reznick
occurred in the state of New York
Anjelica's name was
eventually added to her tombstone.
November 11, 2014
In April of 2014, Conrado Juarez was scheduled to be in court. In an
interview Conrado did from jail, he admitted that he had helped a
family member dump the body of Angelica, but insisted he was not the
one who had killed her. Conrado seemed to be concerned that if he was
convicted, he would spend the rest of his life in prison.
Conrado's Lawyer said that he had been forced into admitting to
something he had not done, by Police who had not allowed to get any
sleep during their interrogation.
I am unable to find anything about if he went to court or was convicted.