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Baby Hope cops will have Anjelica Castillo's name etched on her tombstone

Baby Hope's gravesite at St. Raymond's Cemetery in

Baby Hope's gravesite at St. Raymond's Cemetery in the Bronx. (Oct. 13, 2013) Credit: Dan Rivoli

A group of NYPD officials and investigators who doggedly pursued the Baby Hope investigation for more than two decades are making certain the child's true name -- Anjelica Castillo -- is etched into her headstone at St. Raymond's Cemetery in the Bronx.

"We will do it right," retired Det. Jerry Giorgio said Tuesday.

Giorgio, who has lived with the case ever since Anjelica's body was found in a picnic cooler in July 1991, said that he had contacted Crown Memorial in the Bronx to begin the process of adding her name to the current stone.

A break in the case finally came last week when a poster with a sketch of the girl, between 3 and 5 at the time of her death, led to the arrest of her cousin, Conrado Juarez, 52, of the Bronx. He pleaded not guilty to second degree murder charges and is being held without bail.

Giorgio explained that the words "Baby Hope" will remain on the approximately 3-foot-tall stone crafted from jet black granite.

Her name and possibly other information such as date of birth and approximate date of death will be placed beneath it, said Norm Peduzzi, an official at Crown Memorial, which provided the original stone.

For the moment, a sheet of white paper bearing the child's name is affixed to the stone.

Peduzzi, whose family has been in the cemetery-monument business for more than 70 years, said a group of NYPD officers and his firm split the cost of the original monument. Adding Anjelica's name will be done for free, he said.

"We are doing it for them," Peduzzi said of the investigators.

The company has in the past donated headstones and engraving work in cases of children, forgotten war veterans or indigent people, he said.

"We all have kids, and when somebody dies when they are older, they have lived the life," observed Peduzzi. "These young kids don't have a life."

The engraving work shouldn't take long -- about an hour -- and will be done right at the grave, explained Peduzzi, whose company is also known as Crown Monuments.

The headstone was originally placed at Anjelica's grave in August 1994, Peduzzi said. It was an event that has stayed with him for decades, much the way the cold case stayed with the police.

It was unclear Tuesday when Anjelica's name will be added to the stone. Giorgio said he hoped to have things done in a month, right after he tells Peduzzi about the precise wording.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misstated when Anjelica Castillo’s body was discovered.

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