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"Baby Hope" Update: "We are never going to have peace," says mother of slain child Anjelica Castillo

Conrado Juarez, 52, is arraigned Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013, at Manhattan Criminal Court for the alleged murder of 4-year-old Anjelica Castillo, nicknamed "Baby Hope", in New York. Pool,AP Photo/John Minchillo

Conrado Juarez, 52, is arraigned Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013, at Manhattan Criminal Court for the alleged murder of 4-year-old Anjelica Castillo, nicknamed "Baby Hope", in New York.
Conrado Juarez, 52, is arraigned Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013, at Manhattan Criminal Court for the alleged murder of 4-year-old Anjelica Castillo, nicknamed "Baby Hope", in New York.
Pool,AP Photo/John Minchillo
(CBS) NEW YORK - The mother of the little girl known as "Baby Hope,"whose naked body was discovered inside a picnic cooler beside a Manhattan highway in 1991 and remained unidentified until now, spoke out for the first time on Monday.

Margarita Castillo, the mother of Anjelica Castillo, told CBS New York that she is devastated and that she will never find peace.

"We are never going to have peace," Castillo said from her apartment in Queens, N.Y. "We are just waiting for justice."

Speaking through the door, Castillo said in Spanish, "I want to thank the people...praying for my daughter."

Four-year-old Anjelica was sexually assaulted, smothered and stuffed inside a cooler, authorities said. Her body was dumped along the Henry Hudson Parkway in July of 1991.

The tragic story was made all the more heartbreaking when no one came forward to identify the little girl. No family member ever publicly grieved for her and no one ever claimed her body.

But police got a break in the cold case over the summer. An anonymous tip led investigators to the girl's mother and ultimately to the arrest of her cousin, 52-year-old Conrado Juarez, on Saturday, police said.

Authorities said Juarez confessed to killing the girl after sexually abusing her and that he told his sister, who is now dead, about the crime years ago. He told authorities that his sister helped him dispose of the body, police said.

Juarez, 52, was charged with felony murder late Saturday. He pleaded not guilty and was remanded to custody.

CBS New York reports Castillo's neighbor and friend, George Gonzalez, had no idea the woman he knew was at the center of a 22-year-old murder case.

"She always treated her kids well," he said. "She always went everywhere with her kids."

He says no one ever mentioned Anjelica.

Margarita Castillo did not say why she never reported her daughter missing, reports the station.

When asked about Juarez, Castillo said she only knew what the police had told her.

Detectives working the case in 1991 named the child "Baby Hope" and pitched in with their own money to buy the girl a headstone and cemetery plot at St. Raymond's Cemetery in the Bronx in 1993.

A laminated white sheet of paper with her real name has since been attached to her tombstone.

Complete coverage of "Baby Hope" on Crimesider

  • Stephanie Slifer

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