A 46-year-old Chicago woman pretended she was pregnant for months before she lured a 19-year-old expectant mother to her home and, together with her daughter and boyfriend, killed the mother-to-be and stole the baby from her womb, according to multiple reports.
A judge ordered Clarisa Figueroa, her daughter, Desiree, 24; and Clarisa Figueroa’s boyfriend, Piotr Bobak, 40; held without bond Friday as they face charges connected to the April 23 strangulation death of Marlen Ochoa-Lopez.
The elder Figueroa told neighbors and acquaintances for months prior to the killing that it was a "miracle" she had become pregnant, the Sun-Times reported. Neighbors told the newspaper they found her story hard to believe because she continued to drink and smoke through her alleged pregnancy. Online acquaintances told the Sun-Times her story seemed odd because she had shared several months earlier that she'd had her "tubes tied."
Police said the elder Figueroa placed a frantic 911 call April 23 to report she had given birth to a baby who was not breathing. When first responders arrived, the child was blue, according to The Associated Press. They tried to resuscitate the infant and transported the boy to a nearby hospital, where police said he remained in grave condition and was not expected to survive.
Afterward, the elder Figueroa created a page on a crowdfunding website, soliciting funds to help pay for the newborn's funeral, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Police said a DNA test later confirmed the infant was the child of Ochoa-Lopez and her husband. Authorities believe the boy was cut out of his mother’s womb after the Figueroas strangled her to death.
Authorities have charged both Figueroas with one count each of first-degree murder and aggravated battery to a child. Bobak was arrested on one count of concealment of a homicide.
Cook County prosecutors laid out the case against the trio Friday in a court hearing.
Prosecutors said Ochoa-Lopez was strangled while she was shown a photo album of Clarisa Figueroa's late son, who was an adult when he died two years earlier of natural causes, The Associated Press reported.
Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy said Ochoa-Lopez managed to get her fingers under the cord around her neck and that the woman strangling her, identified as Clarisa Figueroa, then yelled at her daughter, “You’re not doing your (expletive) job!”
The younger Figueroa then pried Ochoa-Lopez’s fingers from the cord while her mother continued to strangle the taeen, Murphy said.
“Words cannot express how disgusting and thoroughly disturbing these allegations are,” police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said Thursday at a news conference announcing the arrests.
Police said the elder Figueroa met Ochoa-Lopez through a Facebook group geared toward young mothers. The Chicago Sun-Times reported the expectant mother bought baby clothes once earlier from Clarisa Figueroa and that they agreed to meet again on the afternoon of April 23 for another exchange. Ochoa-Lopez was last seen leaving Latino Youth High School on April 23, according to The Chicago Tribune.
Ochoa-Lopez’s husband reported her missing the next day. Police didn’t connect the 911 call to the young mother’s death until after May 7, when a friend tipped investigators off to her Facebook activity.
Authorities said they found Desiree Figueroa when they went to visit the home where Clarisa Figueroa and Ochoa-Lopez had planned to meet. The younger woman told police her mother was at the hospital with a leg injury before adding that she had recently delivered a baby. Police said Thursday that they immediately became suspicious.
“She told an extremely odd story,” Brandan Deenihan, deputy chief of detectives, said Thursday.
A search of the neighborhood led police to find Ochoa-Lopez’s abandoned car, which was parked nearby and had several parking tickets on it.
They obtained a search warrant for the house and inside found cleaning supplies and blood, according to authorities. Behind the home, investigators found Ochoa-Lopez’s body in a trashcan that also contained the coaxial cable used to strangle her, police said.
Police said it was not entirely clear why the Figueroas killed Ochoa-Lopez.
“We an only assume (they meant to) raise the child as their own,” Johnson said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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