Pregnant teenager strangled, baby cut from her womb

Baby boy in “grave condition”

By Dave Andrusko

Surrounded by family members and supporters, Marlen Ochoa-Lopez’s father, Arnulfo Ochoa, walks into the Cook County medical examiner’s office to identify his daughter’s body, Thursday morning, May 16, 2019. [Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times]

Four yet-to-be-identified suspects are expected to be charged today in the brutal murder of a pregnant 19 year whose baby was cut from her body.

Compounding the tragedy, Marlen Ochoa-Lopez’s baby is in “grave condition” with “severe brain damage.”

Ochoa-Lopez went missing April 23 after telling friends she had one quick errand to run before going to daycare to pick up her 3-year-old son.

“Nine months pregnant, Ochoa-Lopez drove to a home on the Southwest Side [of Chicago] where a woman she met through Facebook was offering a double stroller and maybe some baby clothes,” the Washington Post’s Katherine Rosenberg-Douglas, Rosemary Sobol, Jessica Villagomez, Jeremy Gorner reported. “Once inside, police say Ochoa-Lopez was strangled and her baby boy cut from her womb.”

According to police, one of the suspects is a 46-year-old woman.

The Post reported that around 6p.m., the night of April 23, just hours after Ochoa-Lopez went missing,

“the Chicago Fire Department answered a 911 call from the home reporting that a child had just been born. When paramedics arrived, they saw “the baby was in obvious distress,” according to department spokesman Larry Langford. A source said the baby “was basically blue.”

The paramedics started advanced life support and radioed for another ambulance. The baby was taken in critical condition to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn.

At the time, no one suspected that the woman was not the baby’s mother or that Ochoa-Lopez had been brutally strangled.

The Chicago Sun Times reported the older woman set up GoFundMe campaign to raise $9,000 for her baby’s funeral, “claiming the boy was sick and about to die, Sara Walker [student pastor at Lincoln United Methodist Church]said. “An anonymous tip eventually led detectives to check the parentage of the baby with saliva from the missing woman’s husband, Yiovanni Lopez, and hair samples from Ochoa-Lopez’s home, she said.

Ochoa-Lopez lived in West Englewood, nearly 5 miles away from the home in the Scottsdale neighborhood where the 46-year-old reported giving birth.

More than two weeks after she went missing, Ochoa-Lopez’s black Honda Civic was found abandoned not far from where her body would be discovered. “Neighbors on the block said they had seen the car around the neighborhood and noticed several parking tickets on it,” The Chicago Sun Times reported. Her body was found in a garbage can.

“I have a lot of pain, a lot of anguish, a lot of sadness,” a grief stricke Lopez told reporters in Spanish. “It’s painful to lose your wife, the woman you love the most. It’s painful.” Lopez said the perpetrators “don’t know the pain they’ve caused” his family.

Julie Contreras, another student pastor at Lincoln United Methodist Church, said Ochoa-Lopez’s “distraught” family was “searching for answers with Marlen. Now they have that answer.”

”It’s a nightmare. It’s as if this family lived through a horror film,” Contreras said. “The family wants [the suspect] prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

Contreras said the family would soon began making funeral arrangements for Ochoa-Lopez.

Lopez spoke with reporters this afternoon outside the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office, where he’d identified the body of his wife.

Mitch Dudek reported that three-year-old Joshua, the couple’s other child, keeps asking where mom is.

“My other son feels sad. He asks me where’s his mom. I can’t explain what happened because he’s still a kid, but I try to make him happy,” Mr. Lopez said.

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