Missing Pregnant Woman Found Dead, Baby was Forcibly Removed from her Womb, Police Say

A 19-year-old pregnant woman who vanished last month was found dead in a Chicago home, authorities said. Police said they believe she was killed and her unborn baby was forcibly removed.

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

The dark-haired 19-year-old vanished on April 23, after she made an appeal to mothers on a Facebook group called “Help A Sister Out.”

She needed help securing a double stroller for her toddler and a new baby on the way, according to social media posts and a pastor who has been assisting her family.

A student at Latino Youth High School, Ochoa-Lopez wrote that she was jobless and short on cash. She was willing to buy, trade or simply accept a donation.

A woman responded with an offer of new baby clothes and other unused items, according to the posts. She asked Ochoa-Lopez to message her privately.

Ochoa-Lopez’s body was found Tuesday in a garbage can in the backyard of the woman who had offered to help her, police said. She had been strangled with a coaxial cable, and her unborn baby forcibly removed from her womb, Deputy Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan said. The baby is in grave condition at a hospital.

Three people who were in the home have been charged, two with murder and other charges and one with concealment of a crime, police said. They include Clarisa Figueroa, 46, who allegedly lured Ochoa-Lopez to the home, and her 24-year-old daughter Desiree, who police said confessed to participating in the slaying.

“Words really cannot express how disgusting and thoroughly disturbing these allegations are,” Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson told reporters Friday.

Police said the break in the case came on May 7, when a friend of the victim told detectives of Ochoa-Lopez’s Facebook exchanges with Figueroa before she vanished. Apparently, Ochoa-Lopez had purchased baby items from the suspects in the past, police said.

“Ultimately, DNA evidence and interviews led us to the three offenders that are now charged,” he said.

Jacobita Cortes, a pastor at Adalberto Memorial United Methodist Church, where the family has sought help, said Ochoa-Lopez’s mother told her of a conversation they had the day before she vanished.

“She gave her mother a big hug and told her, ‘You’re the best mom in the world,'” Cortes said.

“Her mother told me Marlen was always affectionate, but that day she seemed especially loving. And the next day Marlen disappeared.”

On the day Ochoa-Lopez went missing, the Chicago Fire Department had received a call about a newborn in distress from the home where the young mother’s body was eventually found, authorities said.

Three people charged

The baby, now gravely ill, was taken to a hospital that day along with a woman who claimed to be the mother, according to fire department spokesman Larry Langford.

Deenihan said detectives visited the Figueroa home last week after learning of the Facebook contact between the two women. Desiree Figueroa told them her mother was in the hospital for problems with her legs. Then she revealed that her mother had just delivered a baby, he said. Ochoa-Lopez’s car was found near the home.

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. Suspicious, detectives subpoenaed hospital records and began to collect DNA samples from the baby, his biological father and Clarisa Figueroa.

On Tuesday, armed with a search warrant, detectives discovered bleach and cleaning solutions in the home, along with evidence of burned clothing and blood on the floors of the living room, bathroom and a hallway, according to Deenihan. Ochoa-Lopez’s body was found in a garbage can in the yard, with the cable used to strangle her and other evidence.

Early Friday morning, Desiree Lopez told detectives that she helped her mother strangle Ochoa-Lopez, Deenihan said.

The two women have been charged with one felony count of first-degree murder and one felony count of aggravated battery of a child less than 13 years old, police said. Piotr Bobak, Clarisa Figueroa’s boyfriend, has been charged with one felony count of concealing the death of a person and one felony count of concealing a homicidal death.

Johnson said the elder Figueroa had lost a son who was in his 20s to natural causes in 2017. The motive for the killing is under investigation, but the superintendent said he assumed the suspect wanted to raise the child as her own.

Authorities asked for Ochoa-Lopez’s dental records as well as a hairbrush and toothbrush from her family to identify her body, Cortes, the pastor, said. They also matched the baby’s DNA to the father, she said.

“We lived together for four years and now I see her with her eyes closed,” Yovany Lopez, standing outside the morgue in tears, told CNN affiliate WGBO. “Why would these people do this? She did nothing to them. She was a good person. How could they do this knowing she has family and a three-year-old son?”

Ochoa-Lopez’s mother, Raquel Uriostegui, cried: “I want justice for my daughter, my only daughter. This cant stay like this.”

Family mourns and prays

Ochoa-Lopez was last seen more than three weeks ago after leaving Latino Youth High School. She was supposed to pick up her 3-year-old from day care later but never showed up, authorities said.

Cortes, the pastor, said Ochoa-Lopez’s husband tried to immediately report her missing to the police, but was told to come back in 72 hours. He did and then hired a private investigator, who Cortes said helped find Ochoa-Lopez’s car near the home where her body was found.

He went to Cortes for help and plastered the neighborhood with missing persons fliers with Ochoa-Lopez’s photo, the pastor said. Residents last week started calling the church to report that they had seen the young mother enter the house where she was found dead. They said that one of the women who lived there, in her 40s, suddenly had a baby without ever appearing to be pregnant, according to Cortes.

The pastor said the information was turned over to the police, but they did not enter the home and detain the residents until the forensic evidence established that Ochoa-Lopez was the mother. They later discovered her body.

“There’s going to be anger associated,” Johnson told reporters. “When things of this nature occur, the first thing people do is look in retrospect, what could we have done to maybe prevent this? I know our detectives do the best they can.”

22 comments

  • mattwesleywert1984

    A bullet for each would be appropriate…but unfortunately..these individuals will get to LIVE, ..

  • Mopar Driver (@RustyMopars)

    Well a death penalty case if there ever was one and three to execute for the price of one . , Save yourself time to not read the nutjobs comments below , apparently it fits their racist and rant agendas somehow , Or maybe they’re jealous of this trio?

    • darkhorse6669

      you act like democrats ENJOY getting abortions, no one enjoys it and its a terrible thing for anyone involved but sometimes it is just the right, responsible decision to make vs having a child and not being able to provide the good life and support you would want for them, or having them being another child that waits its entire life to get adopted. Republicans preach more personal freedoms from the government yet they try to tell a woman what she is allowed to do with her own body?? giant contradiction.

      • fortisveritas

        The “the right, responsible decision” would be to abstain from having sex until two married adults are ready to raise a child, or place the child into a reputable adoption agency. Backing away from my pulpit/soapbox, the least that can be done is both parties use some form of contraceptive. But even that seems to be too much of a bother for a lot of people. When decent married couples have to go outside our shores to adopt a child (for an obscene capital outlay) while we throw over 1,500 – one thousand five hundred – per day into a dumpster – there’s something terribly wrong. Mur.dur or homi.cide isn’t a freedom.

      • darkhorse6669

        you know that contraceptives aren’t always a sure thing right? Even most virgins know that so you should too, i would hope. and YEAH abstinence works GREAT, just like it always has in the past. Sorry but not everyone follows christian values, i mean why should they when they lead to priests molesting little children?

      • fortisveritas

        Contraceptives are pretty darn effective. Not 100% but real close. Catholic pedophile priests are not Christians. And a lot a Catholics aren’t Christians because they don’t follow the teachings of Christ. The values taught by Jesus (the Son of God) don’t lead to pedophilia. But you already knew that, didn’t you?

        Hmm, you just lumped all Christians into one bad category. Isn’t that racist in your view? (Yeah, I know – it’s not a race).

      • darkhorse6669

        Well trump must not be a christian either, i mean he literally only pretends to believe for votes and you all eat it right up.

      • fortisveritas

        Yet you’re the first one to always point out anything that is even remotely racist. Like the saying goes: If you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

        Seriously though, let me be the first to apologize for my white devil ancestors that I never knew about that did whatever dreadful thing to your ancestors that you know nothing about. For that, I should have to pay you reparations, lower test scores, and hire people for positions that they’re not qualified for. I should also look the other way when statistics show that a higher percentage of minorities commit more violent crimes, and just wallow in my white privileged guilt. ✊🏿

      • darkhorse6669

        alright fortisveritas first off everything that i point out as being racist is always exactly that, because we are a very racist area. Yeah our ancestors were terrible to minorities, but their wrong doings are in the past and there is nothing we can do but move forward. the problem is that this area does the exact opposite. I call attention to people on here being racist and ignorant because its absolute BS for one person to treat another the way people do around here just because they are not white. The only reason that minorities have a higher crime rate is poverty, just because the system has always been rigged against them and has tried to keep them poor, have unfair higher conviction rates and longer prison sentences(for example.- the war on drugs). If everyone had the same amount of opportunity and money i guarantee it would not be like that at all. For god sakes this is a terrible crime against a minority and you backwards racists are still finding a way to make it seem like it was her own fault and spout your racist BS.

      • fortisveritas

        So poverty is an excuse/reason for crime? Interesting. I’m old enough to have spoken with many people that lived through the depression in the 20’s. People knuckled down and did what they had to do (without breaking the law) to survive and provide. They did without. Today, your average welfare recipient is morbidly obese and it’s a way of life for them, not something to fill the gap until they get on their feet. Cry me a river about privilege, opportunity, and a rigged system. I had every opportunity to get involved in drugs and illegal activities as a teenager. I chose not to because I was smart enough to realize that it’s wrong. Every legal US citizen has the same opportunity as everyone else, it comes down to making the right decisions.

        So just because someone says ‘Hazleton’ – right away we’re all racists. OK…

        Yes, this was a horrible crime. No, the crime wasn’t the victims fault. But I have to go back to my original statement: Where was the father with all of this? Absent? In jail? Again – decisions put us where we are.

      • darkhorse6669

        um yes poverty is a reason for crime, duh. If you have no way to make money then out of necessity people tend to turn to crime. What country do you live in? During the great depression SO many people were illegally bootlegging alcohol just to get by which was against the law. What does this babys father have to do with anything? How do you even know he isn’t an active part of their life? just because shes hispanic you automatically assume he wasnt around? Just like when someone mentions “hazleton” the way they did that EVERYONE knows exactly what they were saying. And come on, you have to know that everyone does NOT have the same opportunity at birth. If a family is poor and already maxed out on jobs and still not able to get by they are most definitely not afforded the same opportunities of a middle-class suburban family. you cannot turn nothing into something. for example- a child of a poor family graduates highschool and must instantly get whatever job is quickest and easiest to get because a week without a paycheck is impossible, therefore they cannot go to college and learn a skilled trade or earn a degree in something to get their family out of poverty, its just a vicious cycle. Now a middle-class kid graduating highschool at least has the ability to take 2 to 4 years to go to college and better themselves…

      • fortisveritas

        Sorry, not sorry Darkhorse. Not buying it. How do you explain all the people from ‘the hood’ that do make it for themselves? I’m not talking celebrities or millionaire business owners. I’m talking finishing high school, maybe learning a trade, maybe getting a degree. The flip side of this, I’ve scene lots of kids from white middle class suburbia that are bums or have thrown their lives away on drugs. Again, decisions. Not excuses.

  • calfguy

    Anyone else pick up on the fact she was 19…..leaving high school to pick her 3 year old up from daycare???? Outstanding situation

    • darkhorse6669

      Who cares? It sounds like she was a good person that was stepping up to her responsibilities well…? Out of this terrible tradegedy THAT is what you condemn? YIKES

  • straubdavid9

    These people are not even human …. they should all be dealt with in the same manner that they afforded this young mother ….. no mercy …. just end these animals.

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