Mom did not report Baby Hope missing 'because she wasn't': report

Tue Oct 15, 2013 12:47pm EDT

The tombstone of Anjelica ''Baby Hope'' Castillo is seen in the Bronx borough of New York, October 13, 2013. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

The tombstone of Anjelica ''Baby Hope'' Castillo is seen in the Bronx borough of New York, October 13, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Carlo Allegri

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(Reuters) - The mother of the girl known as "Baby Hope," who was murdered and put in a cooler in 1991 and just recently identified, told a TV station on Tuesday that she did not report her daughter's disappearance because did not realize the girl was missing.

The New York girl was identified as 4-year-old Anjelica Castillo, after two decades of investigation. Her mother, Margarita Castillo, told Telemundo Nueva York in an interview published online by NBC 4 New York, that the child left with her father and a sister after her parents split up.

"Because she wasn't missing - her father took them away and maybe that was my mistake, let him take them away," said Castillo, 52. "I did not go to the police because I was afraid of not being heard. I was afraid, not knowing the language."

Anjelica was living with relatives at the time she was raped and suffocated, police have said.

Conrado Juarez, 52, a relative of the victim on her father's side, was arrested on Saturday in connection with the case.

The mother told Telemundo that her biggest regret was allowing her daughter to leave with her father, according to the report.

The extraordinary brutality of the "Baby Hope" case shocked New Yorkers as news accounts cited investigators' findings about her final days.

Her bound, asphyxiated body was found packed under soda cans inside a cooler along a Manhattan highway in July 1991. She had been starved and sexually abused in the days preceding her death, investigators said.

New York detectives who worked on the case for years had called the unidentified child "Baby Hope" and paid for her funeral and burial when no one came forward to claim her - and vowed never to give up their pursuit of her killer.

A fresh lead emerged last summer after police cold case investigators launched a publicity campaign tied to the 22nd anniversary of the gruesome 1991 discovery.

Chief among the lingering questions is why no one - her mother, father, relatives, neighbors or any of Castillo's nine other children by three different men - ever reported the child missing.

(Reporting by Karen Brooks; editing by Gunna Dickson)

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Comments (1)
I’m a son of Hispanic immigrants, so I’m involved in the immigrant culture, and don’t have to be politically correct. This is just plain irresponsibility and selfishness on their part for not reporting the crime, for several reasons.
First, selfish and irresponsible for starting families even in poverty. ( Exceptions for those who are raped, or are widowed of course. But many are not. Yes, there are many factors in those countries that NEED to improve, but many wounds are self-inflicted. If only people would stop to think! )
Second, selfish for coming into the country illegally instead of going the legal route or going to another country with better VISA rates, for the sake of some easy bucks. Irresponsible for not taking into account the tough situation they and their children will face, all for the almighty dollar. ( Full disclosure, if it weren’t for amnesty legislation in the 80′s,my parents would not be here and my life would have sucked. But yet again my parents should have moved to Spain, or another country, instead in the senselessness of their early twenties just come into the country. It is what it is-for good or for bad.)
Third, irresponsible for not taking iniatiative for not taking care of one’s family.
Fourth, selfish and irresponsible for not going to the police out of fear of one’s stay in the country. Is your legal status more important than your daughter? Is your language comfort zone more important than seeking a translator, which are abundant in NYC, or even learning some phrases in English?
I am not anti-immigrant. I see immigrants as the fully fledged persons that they are-deserving the RIGHTS of the citizen, AND the RESPONSIBILITIES of a citizen.Hence, I judge their actions as if they were citizens, while taking into account the horrible circumstances that gave them a bad lot in life.

Oct 16, 2013 2:21pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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