The family of a pregnant woman who was killed and had her unborn child cut from the womb is hoping her son, who survived, pulls through.
Marlen Ochoa-Lopez, 19, was nine months pregnant when she disappeared late last month in Chicago. Police now say she'd gone to retrieve baby clothes from a woman she'd met in a mother's group on Facebook and was killed.
Now, mother and daughter Clarisa, 46, and Desiree Figueroa, 24, have been charged with murder, and Clarisa’s boyfriend, Piotr Bobak, 40, has been charged with concealing a homicidal death. Chicago police believe Clarisa planned to raise the baby herself.
The infant survived his horrendous entrance into the world but is considered brain dead and is currently in the neonatal intensive care unit.
“She was a girl with big dreams, with a bright future ahead of her,” Arnulfo Ochoa, Marlen’s dad, told reporters Thursday. “... She was a very good mom — the best, because I saw how she treated her kids.”
After investigating for weeks, police said Marlen had visited Clarisa’s home on April 23 to pick up baby clothes, as she had done once before. This time, however, cops said the unthinkable happened.
Police believe Marlen was strangled with a coaxial cable and her child then taken out of her once she had died.
Authorities said Clarisa then called paramedics, saying she’d given birth to a baby at home and the baby was taken to the hospital and placed in the NICU.
On May 7, a friend of Marlen's notified police that the mom had been a part of the mother’s Facebook group and once police checked Marlen's Facebook messages, they discovered she'd planned to meet up with Clarisa at her home.
When police questioned Desiree on her mother’s whereabouts, she said Clarisa had given birth to a baby and was at the hospital, according to police. At that point, police tested the child’s DNA and determined it was Marlen’s baby.
Marlen's car was also found near the Figueroa home with parking tickets on it.
On Tuesday, after obtaining a search warrant, police said they found Marlen’s body in a garbage can in the back yard of of the Figueroa home. They also found burnt clothes, blood traces and cleaning solution.
"Words really cannot express how disgusting and thoroughly disturbing these allegations are,” Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said at a news conference. “And I’d like to offer my sincere condolences and prayers to Marlen’s family, who instead of celebrating the arrival of a new life into their family are now mourning Marlen’s loss.”
Marlen's family is now hoping for a miracle for the baby boy.
“I have a lot of faith that the baby’s going to live. God is going to give me that miracle. We’re anxiously waiting to have him, to love him,” Yovani Lopez, the boy’s father, told reporters Thursday morning.
Marlen also had a 3-year-old son.
“She was an angel ... and now she’s in heaven,” her mother, Raquel Uriostegui said.