- A Chicago woman who was nine months pregnant went missing three weeks ago.
- Remains found in a Chicago neighbourhood this week were identified as those of Marlen Ochoa-Lopez, the missing 19-year-old, according to WGN 9.
- Authorities believe she was killed in a gruesome homicide and said her cause of death was strangulation, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
- Ochoa-Lopez’s family alleged that a woman lured her to her death with a post in a Facebook group about free baby clothes, then attempted to claim Ochoa-Lopez’s baby as her own.
- The baby, Yadiel Yovany Lopez, remains hospitalized, family members told local news outlets.
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On April 23, a Chicago woman named Marlen Ochoa-Lopez responded to a post in a Facebook group advertising free baby items. Ochoa-Lopez, 19, who was nine months pregnant, wasn’t heard from again, The Washington Post reported.
For nearly three weeks, her family – including her husband and her 3-year-old son – was confused.
“She can’t just have disappeared in thin air,” her mother, Raquel Uriostegui, said at a press conference on May 2. “She is a very responsible lady. 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.”
On Wednesday, the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office identified remains found in a garbage can in Chicago’s Scottsdale neighbourhood as those of Ochoa-Lopez, WGN 9 reported. The outlet said that her death was ruled a homicide and that authorities believe her cause of death was strangulation.
Her family believes she was lured to her death by a Facebook post
Ochoa-Lopez, also known as Marlen Ochoa-Uriostegui, had been considered missing since April 23, when she went to meet up with a 46-year-old woman she met through a Facebook page called “Help a Sister Out,” Ochoa-Lopez’s family said.
“She was giving clothes away, supposedly under the pretenses that her daughters had been given clothes and they had all these extra boy clothes,” Cecilia Garcia, a representative for the family, told WGN 9. “That’s the false pretenses that we believe led her to that house.”
A source told WGN 9 that investigators found a room in the basement where Ochoa-Lopez might have been killed.
Authorities told The Post that the baby was then cut from Ochoa-Lopez’s stomach. Her family said the woman claimed the baby was her own.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the woman called 911 that day, saying she had given birth. Another representative for Ochoa-Lopez’s family, Sara Walker, told the newspaper that the woman also set up a GoFundMe campaign to raise $US9,000 for a funeral for her sick baby she believed would die.
ABC 7 Chicago said that in audio recordings a 911 dispatcher could be heard saying: “The caller gave birth 10 minutes ago. Forty-six years of age. The baby isn’t breathing. The baby is pale and blue. They are doing CPR.”
Walker told the Sun-Times that following a tip, the hospital confirmed the baby’s parents with a DNA test using hair from a brush belonging to Ochoa-Lopez and saliva from her husband, Yiovanni Lopez.
No charges have been filed, but sources told the Sun-Times that the woman, who hasn’t been identified, is expected to be charged.
Family members told news outlets that the baby, named Yadiel Yovany Lopez, remains on life support and has no brain function.
“It does not look good for the baby, but they are praying and hopeful,” Walker told the Sun-Times.
Now that they believe they know what happened to the 19-year-old last month, the family is reeling.
“It just seems surreal. You see this stuff on the movies,” Garcia told CBS Chicago. “You never get to know someone. People actually are this evil.”
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