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by Peter Moskos

October 17, 2013

Baby Hope

Good work by the NYPD:
October 14th, 2013

BY ORDER OF THE CHIEF OF DEPARTMENT, THE FOLLOWING IS TO BE READ AT ROLL CALL TO ALL MEMBERS OF THE SERVICE AND POSTED CONSPICUOUSLY WITHIN COMMANDS:

On July 23rd, 1991, twenty-two years ago, the body of a four-year-old girl was found in a cooler off the Henry Hudson Parkway. She had been starved and sexually assaulted. Despite a citywide appeal, the 34th Precinct Detective Squad was unable to locate her relatives. All leads were soon exhausted without even learning her name. Using their own funds, the squad bought her a burial plot and a headstone. On the day she was buried, they Christened her Baby Hope.

As life in a city of eight million people went on, the men and women responsible for Baby Hope’s memory never forgot about her. At the time, Assistant Chief Joseph Reznick was the 34th Precinct Detective Squad commander. No matter where his career took him, he would return to Baby Hope’s grave each year to collect evidence from the flowers and memorials left there. Each year, investigators would canvass neighborhoods in an attempt to locate witnesses or her relatives. In 2006, her body was exhumed to profile her DNA. Whenever he spoke to new detectives and executives, the chief would remind them that so long as Baby Hope’s case was unsolved, we could not consider our work done. The effort spanned careers and lifetimes.

On Saturday, October 12th, 2013, a man was arrested for the murder of Baby Hope. The case broke when a CrimeStoppers tip led to a witness who wanted to share what she knew after years of silence. What followed was the culmination a careful and thorough investigation, the type that our detectives are known for. It pointed towards one person: Baby Hope’s cousin. The suspect, 51, was apprehended at his job as a dishwasher at a restaurant in Greenwich Village. He went on to make statements to detectives implicating himself in the murder.

Please take a moment to reflect on what Baby Hope’s case signifies. The promise to deliver justice to New Yorkers is only as good as the men and the women who keep it. As long as our leaders are relentlessness, our detectives have patience and compassion, and the Department perseveres with even its oldest cases, there can be hope for justice. NYPD detectives have once again lived up to their reputation as being “The Greatest Detectives in the World.” Twenty-two years later, a man will be held to account for the rape and murder of one of our city’s youngest and most helpless victims, a child abandoned by her own family. Her name, we have learned, was Anjelica Castillo.

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