The NYPD cold case detective who broke the Baby Hope case earlier this year is among a number of officers being promoted Monday by Commissioner Ray Kelly, the last promotion ceremony he preside over before he leaves office on Dec. 31.
Det. Robert E. Dewhurst, 47, will be promoted by Kelly to second grade detective during a ceremony at police headquarters in lower Manhattan.
Dewhurst, a city resident who had been a detective third grade for 15 years, did the spade work that identified the mother of the murdered child known as Baby Hope and ultimately led to the identification of the relative who is now facing charges of killing her.
In a telephone interview with Newsday Sunday, Dewhurst, a 22-year veteran of the NYPD, said that he was able to surreptitiously obtain a DNA sample from the mother of the dead child, which later led to the baby being identified as Angelica Castillo.
Angelica's bound and decomposing body was found in a picnic cooler in a wooded area along the Henry Hudson Parkway in July 1991. For more than two decades, NYPD detectives searched and followed leads in an effort to identify the child and find her alleged killer. A big break came earlier this year when a poster depicting Baby Hope prompted an informant to call police and provide information that led Dewhurst to identify Angelica and her mother.
"I would like to think that the Baby Hope case helped . . . , but it may be that my number just came up," said Dewhurst, who added that he had been put in for promotion for the past four years.
In October, Dewhurst interviewed and finally arrested Conrado Juarez, 52, of the Bronx on murder charges after police said he confessed to sexually assaulting 4-year-old Angelica, killing her and then disposing of her corpse. Juarez later denied that he confessed to the murder and the case against him is pending.