On May 16, the Chicago Police Department issued a press release regarding the suspects in the alleged murder of pregnant 19-year-old Marlen Ochoa-Lopez.
Three suspects have been arrested and charged – two with the alleged murder, and one with the concealment of the crime.
Clarisa Figueroa, 46, and daughter Desiree Figueroa, 24, have been charged with “one felony count of first degree murder” and “one felony count of aggravated battery/child<13/permanent disability." The third person allegedly involved, Piotr Bobak, 40, has been charged with "one felony count of [concealing the] death of [a] person" and "one felony count of [concealing] homicidal death," according to the press release.
CNN reports that in late-April, Ochoa-Lopez posted a message on “Help a Sister Out,” a Facebook group, asking other users if they had a stroller for sale or donation. A woman replied to the post, asking that she and Ochoa-Lopez, who was nine months pregnant at the time, enter into private messages.
Sometime after the exchange, Ochoa-Lopez disappeared. According to police, she was allegedly lured to a Chicago home with the promise of procuring items for her baby. Two of the suspects then allegedly strangled Ochoa-Lopez with a cable, cut her open, and removed her child from her body.
According to the press release: “Clarissa Figueroa attempted to claim she had just given birth to the child that was then transported to an area hospital.”
During a May 16 press conference regarding the horrific crime, Deputy Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan laid out the details of the case.
He stated that Ochoa-Lopez was last seen on April 23, and that her husband, Yovani Lopez, reported her missing on the 24th. Over the following days (approximately two weeks), police searched for evidence of the victim and her vehicle.
On May 7, a friend of Ochoa-Lopez reportedly pointed authorities to the “Help a Sister Out” social media post, which ultimately led them to the home of the suspects. When detectives arrived at the residence of Clarisa Figueroa, daughter Desiree claimed that her mother was in the hospital with leg issues, and that she had also given birth.
Shortly thereafter, detectives found Ochoa-Lopez’s vehicle.
The detectives then interviewed Clarisa Figueroa at the hospital. While she denied that Ochoa-Lopez came to her house on April 23, she did admit that the two had met previously.
After DNA testing was conducted, it was confirmed that Clarisa Figueroa was not the mother of the infant, and that Yovani Lopez was the father.
On May 14, detectives searched the suspect’s property, and found the body of Marlen Ochoa-Lopez in a garbage can. The medical examiner determined that Ochoa-Lopez had been strangled.
During an interrogation, daughter Desiree Figueroa “confess[ed] that she assisted her mother [in] strangling Marlen,” stated Deputy Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan.
During the press conference, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said: “Words really cannot express how disgusting and thoroughly disturbing these allegations are.”
According to the Chicago Tribune, after being cut from his mother, the baby boy was taken to “Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn.” The family reports that the infant “has no brain function.”
A GoFundMe page has been set up for the father, son, and family of Marlen Ochoa-Lopez.
On the page, Marlen’s husband Yovani Lopez writes in part:
I am very grateful to the entire community that was in the search of the disappearance of my wife. I am very grateful for the help that is being provided. With all my heart I keep asking for your help. Pray as my son Yovanny Jadiel recovers. Thank you very much for the prayers and support that you have given me, I have no more words of thanks. God bless you. This help that you all are giving me will be for the future of my children. Thank you. My children will forever be grateful. God bless you.
As of publication, the GoFundMe has raised more than $47,000 from 1,367 donors.