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Thursday 19 September 2019

Baby cut from murdered woman’s womb dies

Marlen Ochoa-Lopez’s baby had been in a Chicago hospital since April.

(Joe Giddens/PA)
(Joe Giddens/PA)

By Don Babwin and Rick Callahan, Associated Press

A baby boy who was cut from his mother’s womb with a butcher’s knife has died in hospital where he had been in grave condition since the April attack that killed his mother, the family said.

Yovanny Jadiel Lopez died at Christ Medical Centre in Oak Lawn, Chicago, from a severe brain injury, according to a statement posted on Facebook by family spokeswoman Julie Contreras, who expressed “great sadness” in announcing the baby’s death. Family spokeswoman Cecilia Garcia confirmed the statement.

The baby had been on life support since being taken to the hospital on April 23.

Prosecutors say Clarisa Figueroa, 46, claimed she had given birth to the baby. She and her 24-year-old daughter Desiree are charged with murder over the death of the baby’s mother, 19-year-old Marlen Ochoa-Lopez, and Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said he expects both women will now be charged with murder in the infant’s death.

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Pioter Bobak, Clarisa Figueroa and Desiree Figueroa (Chicago Police Department/AP)

Prosecutors will “make a determination on additional charges” after police and the medical examiner’s office complete their investigations, Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Tandra Simonton said.

Clarisa Figueroa’s boyfriend, Piotr Bobak, is charged with concealing a homicide. The three defendants are due back in court on June 26.

Ms Garcia said the family had been weighing whether to take the baby off life support when he died.

Christ Medical Centre said in a statement that its “hearts and prayers” were with the baby’s family, and their “courage and grace have drawn the admiration of our entire organisation”.

Authorities say that not long after Clarisa Figueroa’s adult son died of natural causes, she told her family she was pregnant. They say she plotted for months to acquire a newborn, and posted an ultrasound and photos of a room decorated for a baby on her Facebook page.

In March, she and Ms Ochoa-Lopez connected on a Facebook page for pregnant women.

The two first met in person around April 1, when Ms Ochoa-Lopez went to the Figueroas’ house and left unharmed, prosecutors allege.

The teenager returned on April 23 to accept Clarisa Figueroa’s offer of free baby clothes, and as Desiree Figueroa was showing Ms Ochoa-Lopez a photo album of her late brother to distract her, Clarisa Figueroa sneaked up behind her and strangled her with a cord, prosecutors say.

Once Ms Ochoa-Lopez stopped showing signs of life, Clarisa Figueroa cut the baby from her womb and she and her daughter wrapped the teenager’s body in a blanket, put it in a plastic bag and dragged it outside to a rubbish bin, according to prosecutors.

Later that day, Clarisa Figueroa called 911 claiming that her newborn baby was not breathing. When first responders arrived, the child was blue. They tried to resuscitate him and took him to Christ Medical Centre, where he remained until his death.

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