The man accused of sexually abusing and killing the little girl known as "Baby Hope" was remanded to jail late Saturday night.
Arraigned in Manhattan, Conrado Juarez, 52, of the Bronx, a cousin to the slain 4-year-old, pleaded not guilty, according to his court-appointed lawyer, Michael Croce.
Judge Laurie Peterson of Manhattan Criminal Court ordered Juarez jailed without bail. The case is due back in court Oc. 22.
Prosecutor Melissa Mourges, who was the assistant district attorney on call when the little girl's body was found, said Juarez sodomized her, then suffocated her with a pillow.
"This case involves a four-year-old girl who was found dead, stuffed in an ice chest on July 23, 1991," Mourges said in court.
"He was known to have had access to the child, spending many nights in the same apartment," she said of Juarez.
Juarez was charged with second-degree murder in the slaying of the girl investigators can now identify as 4-year-old Anjelica Castillo, NYPD Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said Saturday night at a news conference.
Authorities said Juarez has confessed to the crime.
Police say that Juarez, a restaurant dishwasher who also goes by Enidino Juarez, was 30 when he killed her after finding her in the hallway of his sister's apartment in Astoria, Queens.
After telling his sister what he had done, police said, and the now-dead sister, Balvina Juarez-Ramirez, suggested they dispose of the body: They bound the girl, wrapped her in a plastic bag, hailed a cab and left the cooler on an embankment of the Henry Hudson Parkway near Dyckman Street, in Upper Manhattan.
At the arraignment, Mourges said soda cans were placed on top of the girl's body.