Marlen Ochoa-Lopez, a 19-year-old pregnant woman who disappeared in Chicago, IL, last month, was found strangled on Wednesday. Authorities say the baby was cut out of her womb by suspects who met the young woman on social media and lured her by promising her a stroller and baby clothes.
Ochoa-Lopez was last seen after leaving Latino Youth High School on April 23. At the time, she was nine months pregnant. Police say that Ochoa-Lopez drove to a house on Chicago's Southwest Side where she was meant to meet a 46-year-old woman whom she had encountered on a Facebook group for mothers and who had promised her a double stroller.
"We believe that she was murdered and we believe that the baby [was] forcibly removed following that murder," said Chicago Police Department chief spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi.
Authorities say that after strangling Ochoa-Lopez and cutting out the newborn boy, the woman who had lured her to the home called 911, claiming she was the one who had given birth and the baby was "pale and blue." The child was rushed to Advocate Christ Medical Center in critical condition, while the suspect was also taken as a precaution because she was believed to be the mother. The newborn boy was placed in the intensive care unit (ICU).
Two weeks after Ochoa-Lopez's disappearance, her car was found in the same neighborhood. As the search for the young woman continued, police were able to match her DNA to the baby boy in the hospital. On Tuesday, police arrested four suspects in the home where she was allegedly murdered. Her body was found early Wednesday in the back of the house.
Ochoa-Lopez was married and had a 3-year-old son. "Why did these people, why did these bad people, do this? She did nothing to them," her husband Yovani Lopez, 20, said Wednesday evening. "She was a good person." He added: "We’re going to have justice with those responsible. We're going to go hard after them. We won't let it go."
The baby boy remains in ICU and has no brain function, possibly due to lack of oxygen when he was forcibly removed from the womb. His father named him Yovani Yadiel.