THE BRONX - The man arrested last week in the 1991 "Baby Hope" murder case has taken back his confession.

Conrado Juarez was charged with sexually assaulting and smothering 4-year-old Anjelica Castillo, whose body was discovered stuffed inside a cooler in upper Manhattan and remained unidentified for 22 years.

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The 52-year-old had admitted to the crime, but has now told the New York Times that the girl fell down the stairs and that his confession was coerced.

It's been nearly two weeks since the cold case was reopened after investigators learned the identity of Baby Hope through the help of a tip and DNA sampling.