Death of Baby Cut From Slain Chicago Mom’s Womb Is Ruled a Homicide: Coroner
Yovanny Jadiel Lopez spent his short life on support machines with severe brain damage
Chicago baby Yovanny Jadiel Lopez, who spent his short life on support machines with severe brain damage, died last Friday morning in his father Yovany Lopez’s arms, according to a statement from Julie Contreras, a spokeswoman for the families of Lopez and Marlen Ochoa-Lopez, his slain mom.
The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office announced the baby’s cause of death was lack of oxygen and blood to his brain and a prolapse of the umbilical cord and placenta due to a maternal assault and demise, the Chicago Tribune reports. (The medical examiner’s office didn’t immediately return PEOPLE’s inquiry.)
Ochoa-Lopez, 19, was discovered dead on May 15, three weeks after she’d gone missing just ahead of her due date. Her cause of death was ligature strangulation, according to the medical examiner.
“It is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of baby Yovanny Jadiel Lopez,” reads the statement from the family, which asserts the infant sustained “severe brain injury” he suffered after he was forcibly removed from his mother’s womb.
Authorities have charged mother and daughter Clarisa Figueroa, 46, and Desiree Figueroa, 24, with first-degree murder and aggravated battery of a child under 13 in the attack on Ochoa-Lopez.
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Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson has speculated the suspects wanted to “raise the child as their own” after Clarisa Figueroa allegedly faked a pregnancy, then called 911 on April 23 — the day the victim was last seen — to claim she’d just delivered a boy who was struggling to breathe.
He was admitted to the hospital in what police described as “grave” condition.
Police allege the mother and daughter planned the attack in the preceding weeks, and that Clarisa Figueroa lured the nine-months pregnant victim to her home with the promise of baby items after the two had connected on a Facebook group for new and expecting mothers.
A third person, Desiree’s boyfriend Piotr Bobak, 40, has also been charged for his alleged involvement, and faces one felony count of concealment of a homicide.
The accused, who remain in custody, will be asked to enter pleas to the charges when they are next in court on June 26.
PEOPLE was unable to reach attorneys who might speak on the suspects’ behalf.
Frank Avila, an attorney representing the family, addressed media shortly after the baby’s death, reports ABC 7.
“The baby did not just die, the baby was murdered and we demand justice. The baby did die of natural causes, of course, but natural causes that were inflicted by the brain injured cause from the asphyxiation of his mother. That was a murder and murder charges should be brought,” Avila said.
The statement notes the baby’s impending funeral will be private.
“Please keep his family in your thoughts and prayers as they go through this difficult time,” the statement requests.