'Baby Hope' grave gets a name and mourners
The grave site of Baby Hope now bears Anjelica Castillo's name, printed on a plain white sheet of paper taped to the headstone.
A small red teddy bear, a modest flower arraignment, and angel figurines adorn the grave site at St. Raymond's Cemetery in Throggs Neck since detectives Saturday identified Castillo as the body of a 4-year-old girl found stuffed in a cooler on the side of the Henry Hudson Parkway in 1991.
People who came to the cemetery to mourn their loved ones Sunday made time to visit Castillo's grave site.
"It all came back now with what happened this week," said Paul Tascarella, a 58-year-old former Riverdale resident who lived close to the spot where Castillo's body was found.
Now residing in Scarsdale, he brought his 14-year-old daughter with him to the cemetery and told her about the unsolved case of Baby Hope's murder.
"They wouldn't give up on it and they did it, 20 years later," he said of the investigators on the cold case.
NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly on Saturday said they arrested Castillo's killer: her cousin Conrado Juarez, now 52 years old. Juarez admitted to raping Castillo and smothering her with a pillow. With the help of his now-deceased sister, Juarez bound Castillo's body, wrapped it in a plastic bag in a put it in a cooler, according to Kelly. The body was found on the side of the Henry Hudson Parkway near Dyckman Street.
Those who remembered the murder found closure now that Baby Hope was identified and her killer was in jail.
"Now that she has a name, we know who she is and she is resting in peace," said Victor Vazquez, a 67-year-old retiree from Bedford Park who was at the cemetery with his wife Ana.
Evelyn Mendez of Co-op City had placed an angel figurine atop the gravestone during a visit with family to see her deceased brother.
"She looks like she's had a lot of visits," said Mendez, a 58-year-old private home-care worker. "She's an angel somewhere in Heaven. She must look after all the other kids."