Sum it Up! #44 is completely dedicated to cold cases.
First of all, Conrado Juarez, cousin of the child who was known as Baby Hope, has been arrested in the child’s cold case. The child’s name: Angelica Castillo and she was only four when she was murdered.
Juarez admitted to the crime. Charges are still being developed, and it’s not known yet when Juarez will be arraigned. The arrest came as the result of an anonymous tipster who came forward, police said.
Angelica’s body was found in a blue and white cooler in a wooded area near the Henry Hudson Parkway on July 23, 1991. She had been smothered and sexually molested, and her body was so badly decomposed that several sketches were made to suggest what she looked like.
The tip came after their latest canvass in July.
From CNN: “Juarez, who was 30 at the time of the crime, said he went to an apartment in Queens shared by seven of his relatives and saw Anjelica in the hallway. Juarez told police he sexually assaulted her and then smothered her. When the girl went motionless, Juarez told police, he summoned his sister from another room. It was the sister who told Juarez to get rid of the body and who provided the cooler. The two hailed a cab to Manhattan, dropped the cooler off in a wooded area, and then went their separate ways. The sister, Balvena Juarez Ramirez, is deceased.”
Another case where a contractor finds human remains. We have seen it before. The NYPD is now looking into a case of a woman who went missing in 1938. A contractor found bones in a crawl space. He picked a few bones up, placed them in a plastic bag, and brought it to the police.
I understand that they meant well but should you ever find skeletal remains … DO NOT TOUCH! Just get the cops and let them deal with it. If you remove some bones you disturb the order in which they were originally laid and that order can tell what happened to the body. Second, no evidence that might hold anything wet should be placed in plastic. Even if you say “well, in this case the bones were so old …” I say that unless you knew the dampness of the crawl space and the soil, you can never be too careful. Hat tip to Lisa, the Queen of Pith, for sending me this case.
In 2016, we might see an opera based on the cold case of the missing Beaumont Children. From the Mercury News: “State Opera of South Australia, in partnership with ensemble SINGular Productions, have received a major commission grant from Arts SA to create the work, Innocence Lost.It’s being adapted from the novel Time’s Long Ruin by Adelaide author, Stephen Orr. Adam Goodburn, a founding member of SINGular Productions, said Innocence Lost is loosely based on the disappearance of Jane Beaumont, 9, her sister Arnna, 7, and brother Grant, 4.”
I hope it will be done tactfully. The 50th anniversary of the children’s’ disappearance will be hard enough on the parents as it is. We do not need to add anymore pain.
Last, I got all excited when I saw the latest edition of the BBC’s History magazine. It had the Princes in the Tower on the front cover and a hint that I might read something new. Alas, the article by historian Leanda de Lisle did not even touch on multiple explanations why the Princes might not have been murdered at all.
The editor, Rob Attar, states: “Henry VII and Richard III certainly didn’t agree on much, but in this regard they were very much united” is just deplorable. There are clear differences if you read up on your history. Henry Tudor would have loved to see all the Plantagenets eliminated permanently, yes. But that did not count for Richard III.
There was still the issue of not having a blood heir. Tudor didn’t have one but he was not king yet. Richard III as king had already lost his wife and only son. A true blood heir would secure the throne for his family for years to come. No mention of that option or the discussion that Richard III’s household accounts included costs for children at his northern estate.
What de Lisle and Attar refer to is that both Richard III and Henry Tudor did not want to risk that the dead princes would gain a cult following. The cult following described in the article hints at the Princes as dead and that people would mourn them at their graves. But why assume that the Princes were dead AND that the whereabouts of their remains were known?
I was mostly irritated by the fact that this article ended with the bones found below the staircase in 1674 as described by Thomas More. However, we now know that testing of those bones have been done and that the results are nothing but conclusive.
In 1933, Dr. Lawrence E. Tanner and Professor William Wright of the London Hospital Medical School examined the remains. They found a mixture of animal bones, 3 very rusty nails, and human remains. After the bones were sorted they were able to make two incomplete skeletons, one larger than the other. Sadly, crucial bones were missing. From the jaw bones and the teeth, modern technology could extract information such as diet (indicating underfed or well fed hinting to class/standing), age (compared to the Princes), and their health in general.
Edward V, the oldest of the two Princes, allegedly suffered from either a jaw infection or severe teeth/gum infections. If so, the teeth found could be an indicator about what exactly was troubling the Prince and whether for his time period, his ailment was deadly. The Wright examination showed the older incomplete skeleton was from a child approx. between 11-13 years and the smaller incomplete skeleton from a child approx between 7-11 years old.
At that time, it was not possible to determine conclusively the gender of the children. It was also not possible at that time to determine conclusively that the skeletons were from people related to each other. There was suspicion but no evidence. This exam in 1933, is the only examination on the alleged remains of the Princes.
Alison Weir describes on pages 256-257 of her book another medical examination. However, those scientists had to rely on the work done by Tanner & Wright. They never had access to the real remains because that requires Royal permission.
de Lisle also does not mention that during renovations in 1789, workmen accidentally broke open the vault with the remains of King Edward IV and his wife, Queen Elizabeth Woodville. They discovered a small adjoining vault with two unidentified coffins. Alas, the coffins were not inspected and the vault was sealed again. In the 90s, when repairs were being carried out at St. George’s Chapel near that same vault, a request was made to look at the vault(s) with fibre-optic cameras.
With modern technology we might be able to find out who exactly lies in the vault aside from King Edward IV and Queen Elizabeth. Two coffins are entitled: Mary of York and George Plantagenet. But in the other two coffins? We may never know. It takes Royal permission to open the vault or burial place of another Royal. So far, Queen Elizabeth has not given her permission.
I really think that a historian should have looked further than just the works of Thomas More because as we know now, More’s work on this era was written in 1513, was incomplete, and based on what he heard from others.
Even if you wish to discuss the options as they were available at that time (so leaving out what we know now) then de Lisle still skips over a valid option that must always be explored when we talk about rulers and their actions: succession.
If you have two contenders both without wife and off-spring then it might not be so far-fetched to consider that maybe Richard III had completely different thoughts about his nephews than Henry Tudor.
Until the next Sum it Up!