Cops ID Mom of Girl Found in Cooler 22 Years Ago

NYPD makes breakthrough in Baby Hope case

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Oct 8, 2013 2:07 AM CDT | Updated Oct 8, 2013 12:27 PM CDT

(Newser) – New York police have made a breakthrough in a case that horrified the city in the summer of 1991. Thanks to a tip and DNA evidence, they've identified and brought in for questioning the mother of the dead little girl who became known as "Baby Hope," the New York Times reports. Highway workers found the toddler tied up in a plastic bag inside a cooler in Washington Heights. The girl, believed to have been between 3 and 5 years old, had been starved, sexually abused, beaten, and strangled, but was never reported missing.

"We have been able to identify the mother of Baby Hope as a result of, in my judgement, outstanding detective work," Ray Kelly said. "The mother has been cooperating." Police haven't arrested her and wouldn't identify her, though sources said she was originally from Mexico and had lived in Queens. After interviewing her, police at last know the girl's name, though they haven't released that, either. The breakthrough follows a fresh push this summer to solve the case, in which police offered a $12,000 reward for information. A woman responded, saying she may have spoken to Baby Hope's sister. (Another recent cold case breakthrough: Police say an elderly couple killed their spouses and children decades ago.)

This poster provided by the New York City Police Department seeks help identifying the victim dubbed "Baby Hope."   (AP Photo/NYPD)
A poster soliciting information regarding an unidentified body is seen near the site where the body was found in New York.   (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
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