3 charged in gruesome death of pregnant Chicago woman

Sergio Conner
May 18, 2019

A pregnant woman who had gone to a Chicago home in response to a Facebook offer of free baby clothes was strangled and her baby cut from her womb, police and family members said.

Marlen Ochoa-Lopez, 19, was found strangled behind a house where she is alleged to have been lured to collect free baby clothes on 23 April.

"Words can not express how disgusting and thoroughly disturbing these allegations are", Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson told reporters at a news conference to announce the murder charges against Figueroa and her 24-year-old daughter, Desiree Figueroa.

Marlen Ochoa-Lopez was nine months pregnant when she went missing.

Ochoa-Lopez's body was found in a trash bin near the home where police believe she was killed, according to WGN television.

The newborn was in grave condition and not expected to survive, and three people were taken into custody, including a woman who pretended the baby was hers, police said.

"We believe that she was murdered and we believe that the baby was forcibly removed following that murder", Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi told reporters, according to news agency Associated Press.

"Her mother told me Marlen was always affectionate, but that day she seemed especially loving". Later that day, her family got a call saying that she hadn't shown up to pick up her 3-year-old son from day care.

The break in the case came May 7, police said.

They added that Figueroa apparently wanted to raise another child two years after her adult son died of natural causes.

"She told an extremely odd story", and officers "kind of knew where this is headed", Deenihan said. The family said it has named the baby Yadiel.

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But Ochoa-Lopez's family said they notified authorities about her interaction with the woman much sooner.

The woman said she was located near West 79th Street and South Pulaski Road, an intersection just blocks from the house where Ochoa-Lopez's body would later be found.

Officials declined to comment on how Ochoa-Lopez's baby was removed from her body out of respect for the family.

As part of the search, police went to hospitals in the area to see if she had delivered her baby.

When detectives interviewed Clarisa Figueroa at the hospital, she told them she had met Ochoa-Lopez previously but that the victim had not visited her the day she went missing, police said.

"They are finding remains of burned clothes, they are finding some blood indication on the living room carpet, some blood indication on the hallway, some blood indication on the bathroom floor", police said.

The pregnant woman, who had been reported missing three weeks ago, has been identified as Marlen Ochoa-Uriostegui.

"Due to the fact that I'm in school and can't work at the moment, I can't afford to buy the rest of the things since I'm short on cash right now", Ochoa-Lopez wrote.

Ochoa-Uriostegui's son, named Yadiel Yovany Lopez by his father and Ochoa-Uriostegui's husband, Giovanni Lopez, is now in hospital on life support.

The family of Ochoa-Lopez held a news conference Friday morning at the Cook County Criminal Courthouse, pleading with State's Attorney Kim Foxx to deny bond to the three suspects.

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