Suspect Clarisa Figueroa's son died of natural causes in 2017
A Chicago mother and daughter accused of murdering a pregnant woman and cutting the baby from her womb may have wanted to “raise the child as their own,” the police superintendent speculated Thursday as charges in the case were announced.
The accused mother, 46-year-old Clarisa Figueroa, had lost her own adult son two years earlier to death by natural causes, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said at a news conference.
Authorities say that Figueroa called 911 on April 23 — the same day that a pregnant 19-year-old, Marlen Ochoa-Lopez, went missing — to report that she herself had given birth and wasn’t breathing. In reality, say police, that baby was that of Ochoa-Lopez, who was nine months pregnant and also went by the last name Ochoa-Uriostegui.
“The caller gave birth 10 minutes ago,” according to the 911 dispatcher in a recording obtained by Chicago TV station WLS. “46 years of age. The baby isn’t breathing. The baby is pale and blue. They are doing CPR.”
The child was rushed to the hospital where it remains in “grave” condition, a police spokeswoman told PEOPLE. Family members of the victim have said the infant is on life support and shows no sign of brain function.
Johnson told reporters: “Through DNA testing we are now certain the child was Ms. Ochoa’s.”
The victim’s family “should be celebrating the birth of a young baby,” Johnson said. “Instead, they’re mourning the loss of a mother and possibly that young child.”
Figueroa and her daughter Desiree Figueroa, 24, both were charged with one felony count each of first-degree murder and one felony count of aggravated battery of a child Under 13, according to a police news release obtained by PEOPLE.
A third person, Desiree’s boyfriend Piotr Bobak, 40, is also charged with one felony count of concealment of a homicide.
Johnson alleged that Desiree admitted to helping her mother strangle the pregnant teen with a coaxial cable. Both the cable and Ochoa-Lopez’s body were found Wednesday in a garbage can on the Figueroas’ property, Johnson said at the news conference.
Victim Was Allegedly Lured on Facebook Moms Group
The Figueroas allegedly lured the pregnant teen to their home in late April under the guise of giving her free baby clothes. Johnson said Clarisa Figueroa and the victim knew each other and that Ochoa-Lopez had been to the house before to pick up baby items.
In that now-defunct Facebook group, titled “Help A Sista Out,” Ochoa-Lopez had appealed for a double stroller before she went missing, reports CNN.
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“Due to the fact that I’m in school and can’t work at the moment, I can’t afford to buy the rest of the things since I’m short on cash right now,” Ochoa-Lopez wrote, according to screen shots of the exchange, reports CBS Chicago.
The woman who responded, allegedly Figueroa, offered baby clothes and other unused items, and directed Ochoa-Lopez to private message her.
The three-week interim between her disappearance and the discovery of her body left her family desperate and, eventually, angry at the delay. The victim’s father, Arnulfo Ochoa, alleged at a separate Thursday news conference that police “took too long to get” to the body, reports CNN.
According to The Washington Post, after the body was found, Ochoa-Lopez’s husband, Yovany Lopez, tearfully told reporters, “Why did these bad people do this? She did nothing to them. She was a good person.”