- A Chicago woman and her daughter have been charged with killing a pregnant 19-year-old, Marlen Ochoa-Lopez, and cutting the baby from her womb.
- Clarisa Figueroa and her daughter, Desiree, were charged with first-degree murder and felony aggravated battery of a child, while the elder Figueroa’s boyfriend, Piotr Bobak, was charged with concealment of a homicide.
- Eddie Johnson, the Chicago police superintendent, said at a press conference on Thursday that while the motive remained unclear, “we can only assume” Clarisa Figueroa wanted to raise the baby as her own.
- Ochoa-Lopez, who was nine months pregnant, went missing about three weeks ago, and her remains were found on Wednesday.
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It was supposed to be one of the happiest times of her life.
Marlen Ochoa-Lopez, a 19-year-old Chicago woman, was nine months pregnant and gearing up for the birth of her baby boy. In late April, after leaving the high school she attended in the city’s Little Village neighbourhood, she went to the home of a woman she met in a Facebook group called “Help a Sista Out” and who had offered her a double stroller and baby clothes.
But something wasn’t right. That afternoon, Ochoa-Lopez failed to pick up her 3-year-old son from daycare and never came home. That wasn’t like her, her mother, Raquel Uriostegui, told reporters at a press conference on May 2.
“She is a very responsible lady,” Uriostegui said. “She is not a person who just disappears and leaves home. I cannot believe that she would just leave, pregnant, and abandon her other son. There’s something wrong here, something bad.”
Almost a month since Ochoa-Lopez disappeared, her mother’s words would come to fruition: Something bad did happen. On Wednesday, the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed that Ochoa-Lopez’s remains had been discovered in a trash can, her death believed to be the result of strangulation and ruled a homicide.
Even more shocking, the police said, was that after she was strangled to death, her baby boy was cut from her womb.
During a Thursday press conference, Chicago police officials said that Clarisa Figueroa, 46, and her daughter, Desiree, 24, had been charged with first-degree murder and aggravated battery of a child causing permanent disability, and the elder Figueroa’s boyfriend, Piotr Bobak, charged with concealment of a homicide, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Eddie Johnson, the Chicago police superintendent, said that while the motive remained unclear, “we can only assume” Clarisa Figueroa, whose 27-year-old son died in 2017, wanted to raise the baby as her own.
“We came to this country to give a good life for my daughter,” Ochoa-Lopez’s father, Arnulfo Ochoa, told the Tribune on Thursday. “We just want justice for what they did for my daughter.”
A daughter confesses, police say
The police said Desiree Figueroa told them she had helped her mother strangle Ochoa-Lopez, according to WGN 9. The two, along with Bobak, are due in bond court on Friday, the news outlet said.
For weeks, Ochoa-Lopez’s family desperately searched for her, and her toddler kept asking for his mum and refused to eat food, Uriostegui said at the May 2 press conference.
After Ochoa-Lopez’s remains were discovered on Wednesday, her husband, through tears, told ABC 7 Chicago: “Why did these bad people do this? She did nothing to them. She was a good person.”
The police said that after Ochoa-Lopez’s baby was cut from her stomach, Clarisa Figueroa called 911 saying the baby was “pale and blue,” according to the Tribune. The baby was rushed to the hospital in critical condition and as of Thursday was brain-dead but remained on life support, Ochoa-Lopez’s family told the Tribune.
Johnson said at Thursday’s press conference that through DNA testing authorities were able to confirm the child was Ochoa-Lopez’s.
“They should be celebrating the birth of a young baby,” he said of her family. “Instead, they’re mourning the loss of a mother and possibly that young child.”
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