The 4-year-old child was finally identified last month after 22 years and a relative with her murder.
They were the only real family who ever cared for Baby Hope. NYPD Detectives determined to give a child whose name they never knew, dignity in death. 20 years ago, they held a funeral and buried the little girl with their own money.
On Friday, they gathered again to bless her newly inscribed headstone.
With the two former NYPD Detectives who led the Baby Hope Investigation looking on, the Priest who officiated over the funeral mass for the mystery little girl 20 years ago, blessed the headstone that now bears the child's real name, Angelica Castillo. It was an emotional day for all the Detectives who never gave up trying to identify the sexually abused toddler found naked and bound in a cooler off the Henry Hudson Parkway in 1991.
"There's a mixture of sadness and joy, I don't know how else to say it. For us to finally know her name, she was 4 years old when she was killed, she would have been 26 years old," said Asst. Chief Joseph Reznick.
Detectives from the 34th precinct gave the little girl a funeral , bought her a beautiful white casket, and a grave marker that for years, simply said Baby Hope. And every year on the anniversary of her burial, Retired Detective Jerry Giorgio and Asst. Chief Joe Reznick have visited her.
"I do come every year and the frustration would go but the hope would grow, too. And I think the name was so appropriate when it was given to her and lo and behold, 22 years later we got the break we needed," adds Reznick.
The break came this summer after a new tip that led to Baby Hope's biological mother, in Queens and to the arrest of a relative, Conrado Juarez on charges of rape and murder. The only family invited to today's ceremony, the NYPD.
"To this day and forever she'll be our family and I'll still be here on the anniversary date," adds Giorgio.