Marlen Ochoa-Lopez, the missing 19-year-old Chicago pregnant woman who was found dead last week, was the victim of an elaborate plot to steal a baby, according to Cook County prosecutors.
In court on Friday, new details surfaced about 46-year-old Clarisa Figueroa and her 24-year-old daughter Desiree’s alleged plan to lure Ochoa-Lopez to their home, strangle her to death, and cut her unborn son out of her womb — including how the women targeted Ochoa-Lopez via social media and carried out the grisly crime.
About seven months ago, Clarisa, then 45, announced she was pregnant and began to share updates on Facebook, including photos of a nursery and her intention to name the child Xander, after her 20-year-old son who died last year, The Chicago Tribune reports. The announcement was unexpected — and phony — as Clarisa previously had her fallopian tubes tied.
Prosecutors say Clarisa also posted on a local “Help a Mother Out” Facebook group page. In March, she wrote, “where is the May mamas at.” Ochoa-Lopez reached out and later visited Clarisa and Desiree on April 1, the first of two visits to their Southwest Side home, after Clarisa had offered her new baby clothes and a stroller. Authorities were granted access to Ochoa-Lopez’s Facebook messages earlier this month, where they found correspondence between her and Clarisa.
According to prosecutors, Clarisa had previously asked Desiree for help with her plan to kill a pregnant woman and steal her baby. She then told Desiree that they needed to kill Ochoa-Lopez. Desiree refused and told her boyfriend, who was present at the time and threatened to call the police. Clarisa later told him it was an April Fools’ joke.
Ochoa-Lopez was last seen leaving Latino Youth High School on April 23. Her Facebook messages show she had arranged to visit the Figueroas again that afternoon. After she arrived at their home, prosecutors say Desiree distracted Ochoa-Lopez with a photo album in the living room while Clarisa stepped behind the couch and began to strangle her with a coaxial cable. When Ochoa-Lopez got her fingers between her neck and the cord, Clarisa chastized Desiree, telling her daughter, “You’re not doing your fucking job.”
Desiree moved Ochoa-Lopez’s fingers as Clarisa moved on top of Ochoa-Lopez. Authorities estimate it took four to five minutes until Ochoa-Lopez was dead. Police and prosecutors say Desiree gave “a full video-recorded confession” to helping her mother strangle Ochoa-Lopez.
Clarisa then directed Desiree to get a butcher knife, a blanket, and a large plastic bag. With her daughter out of the room, Clarisa cut the baby out of Ochoa-Lopez’s womb and placed him into a bucket, prosecutors say.
She called 911, saying she had given birth to the boy at home and he appeared “pale and blue.” He was soon after transported to the Advocate Christ Medical Center and placed in the intensive care unit. According to prosecutors, the Figueroas continued to claim he was Clarisa’s in the weeks that followed, telling detectives that Clarisa had just had a baby and even starting a campaign on a crowdfunding website to raise funds for the baby’s medical care.
Prosecutors say Clarisa was examined but showed no signs of having recently given birth, and a test found the child’s DNA matched Ochoa-Lopez’s. The child’s father and Ochoa-Lopez’s husband, Yovani Lopez, was granted custody last week and named the boy Yovani Yadiel. The baby is still in grave condition with severe brain injuries, per the Tribune.
Both Figueroas were arrested and charged with first-degree murder and aggravated battery. Clarisa’s boyfriend, Piotr Bobak, 40, who allegedly helped the women clean the house and hide evidence, was also arrested and charged with one felony count of concealing a death and one felony count of concealing a homicide.