Cold Case Involving a Murdered Child Solved After Over Two Decades

A New York cold case is solved, plus a mass murderer wipes out a village in China

Baby Hope
Cold cases can prove to be the most maddening things for investigators to live with. When the police know that just one clue can rip open a case, it’s hard to willingly move past them and on to fresher cases, where the puzzle pieces may be easier to place together. This is especially true with cold cases when the victims are young and vulnerable. Such is one case from New York in 1991: While working on a building a group of construction workers came across a blue cooler. Inside they found the stuff of nightmares – under a handful of soda bottles was a black garbage bag with a dead child inside it. The body was bound with cords and rope. An autopsy determined the girl was about four-years-old, but the remains were so deteriorated that a cause of death and proper identification was thought to be near impossible. The body was clearly malnourished, weighing about twenty-eight pounds. The investigators also felt that signs of sexual abuse were present on the corpse. After lying in the morgue for almost two years, awaiting identification, the child was buried under the name “Baby Hope”.

The case fell cold for a full twenty-two years (minus twice unearthing the girl’s remains to retrieve DNA samples) until a tip was phoned into investigators. This led to the police questioning Conrado Juarez, who admitted under interrogation that he had in fact murdered Anjelica Castillo, a.k.a “Baby Hope”. Juarez, Castillo’s cousin, explained in detail how he tied the young girl to a table and sexually molested her. He then attempted to rape Castillo – causing her to cry out in pain. Juarez grabbed a pillow to muffle her screams and accidentally smothered her to death. He then convinced his sister to help him dispose of the body.

Baby Hope’s mother, Margarita Castillo, was located soon after. She explained to the police that she had not gone to them to report her child missing because she was an illegal immigrant and feared being deported. She also had reason to suspect that her ex-husband had possibly taken the girl back to Mexico. Since Baby Hope’s father has never been located, it is believed that he has no idea the cruel fate his daughter endured.

Home Sweet Home 
There are few pleasures in life simpler than coming home each day and basking in a place where you can be completely at ease, free from all the tensions in the world. This is how Catrina McGhaw wanted to be able to spend her spare time in her Ferguson, Missouri home. McGhaw had been living a quiet, relatively content life until one day she got word from a family member that a documentary was airing about a serial killer who had been active in the area.

When McGhaw viewed the film, she was dismayed to see that the killer’s home was in fact the very house she was currently renting. The murderer, Maury Travis, was a suspect in nearly two dozen area murders, but he ended up only being sent to jail for a pair of slayings. Travis ended up committing suicide in his jail cell in 2002.

McGhaw was mortified as she saw her home displayed on the TV screen, with the voice over going into gory details about what the investigators suspected unfolded in each part of her sanctuary. Perhaps the most dismaying moment came when the killer’s kitchen table was shown – McGhaw realized it was the same table her landlord had given her to use while she lived there.

McGhaw furiously called her landlord, at which point it was revealed to McGhaw that the woman she rented from was the mother of a serial killer. The landlord refused to let McGhaw out of her lease, and claimed that McGhaw had been told about how the home was previously the scene of torture and murder.

McGhaw looked into the laws and realized that legally landlords could withhold a home’s dark past from any potential suitors. An appeal to the St. Louis Housing Authority worked and McGhaw was given special permission to break her lease at the end of that month.

McGhaw told reporters that the worst part of the home’s revelations was the fact that the basement had a pole in it that Travis had used to bind his victims to. It was impossible to go downstairs without images being conjured up.

McGhaw  also claimed that a toddler who had previously been playing in the basement may have a supernatural encounter. The little tyke became freaked out while staring at the pole and said that she could see somebody next to it. This all went down before anyone in McGhaw’s family ever knew the house was tainted with an evil past.

Rampage in China 
Recently in China, a man named Yang Qingpei came up with a rather unique way to cover up a crime. The events all started when Qingpei argued with his parents over needing money. When they refused to comply with his wishes, he murdered them both.   Living in close quarters in a remote village, Qingpei knew that he’d be hard pressed to avoid being fingered as the perpetrator, so his solution was to go door to door in his village and kill everyone he saw. By the time the rampage was through, Qingpei ended up murdering an additional seventeen locals.

Survivors were able to skirt away and alert authorities. This meant that within a matter of hours a police force from over one hundred miles away was on scene to arrest Qingpei. Since this occurred in the highly secretive boundaries of China, not many details about the crime have been released. It appears that not even the method of murder has been leaked to the public. It is believed that due to China’s tight controls on guns that the executions were done via another method.

Six families were targeted in the attack, with the youngest victim being just three-years of age and the oldest being seventy-two.

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Written by Andrew Lutzke

The grumpy old man of culturecrossfire.com, lover of wrasslin’ and true crimes.