The mother of "Baby Hope" thanked the people praying for her murdered daughter and said, "we are never going to have peace. We are just waiting for justice," through the closed door of her Elmhurst apartment building Monday, according to news reports.
The few words in Spanish that Margarita Castillo uttered to reporters, including CBS/2's Kathryn Brown, were the first ones she's shared publicly since her daughter was identified as Anjelica Castillo.
The 4-year-old girl was murdered more than 22 years ago, her body stuffed in a picnic cooler and left by the Henry Hudson Parkway.
Castillo did not appear on camera and didn't explain why she never reported her daughter missing. She was "very emotional," and "told us she is devastated," the CBS/2 report said.
One of Castillo's five daughters, Jessy Rojell, 22, told the Daily News her mother was "surprised, I guess. She's relieved," by the arrest of Anjelica's cousin, Conrado Juarez, after not knowing what happened to Anjelica for more than two decades.
Juarez, 52, a dishwasher from Morris Heights in the Bronx, was arrested Saturday after years of dogged police work and was remanded on murder charges, police said.
Juarez, who pleaded not guilty, allegedly confessed he sexually abused Anjelica before smothering her and enlisted the aid of a now-deceased sister, Balvina Juarez-Ramirez, to dispose of the body.
The NYPD said its investigation in the case continues.