The man suspected of murdering “Baby Hope” says he didn’t do it, despite the fact that he confessed to the murder last week. Now, Conrado Juarez says detectives coerced a false confession.
“Baby Hope,” whose name was Anjelica Castillo, was murdered 22 years ago. Her body was stuffed in an Igloo cooler and left on the side of the Henry Hudson Parkway in New York.
Her murder went unsolved for two decades, until detectives caught a break earlier this month. ABC News reports that Juarez was arrested and charged with sexually assaulting and smothering Castillo.
However, he recanted his alleged confession in a jailhouse interview with The New York Times, saying that the confession was coerced by detectives. He added, “That’s the mess I find myself in.”
In a 45 minute interview, Juarez told a different story than the one he gave investigators last week. He and his sister, Balvina Juarez, raised Anjelica and her little sister Maribel after their mom gave up on the girls.
The four-year-old was headstrong and sometimes took swipes at her sister. However, he stated that her death wasn’t what he told investigators. Juarez explained, “I told the police that I put a pillow over her face and killed her. But it wasn’t like that.”
Instead, Baby Hope’s accused killer says the little girl fell down stairs at his home, and he, along with Balvina, disposed of her body, because they didn’t know what else to do. Juarez added that the child was wearing a nightgown when they put her in the cooler, but police say the girl was naked.
Conrado Juarez added that he and his sister never spoke of the incident again. He added, “I was afraid. My mind closed. Thinking about it now, I realize I should have called the police.” Juarez’s account of the disposal of Castillo’s body matches one given by an anonymous caller, as well as the version he told police.
While Juarez claimed he didn’t kill Baby Hope, a person with knowledge of the confession told the Times that the accused killer told investigators about details that were never published or broadcast in the media, including how Anjelica was bound and positioned in the cooler.
Conrado Juarez is facing trial on Rikers Island in New York for Anjelica Castillo’s murder. It is unclear how he and lawyer Michael J. Croce will prove he confessed under stress.
[Image via Wikimedia Commons]