Woman Lures Pregnant Teen Via Facebook, Cuts Out Baby

Warning: Distressing content

A Chicago woman who lured a pregnant woman to her house with an offer of baby clothing has been charged with murder after allegedly strangling her and cutting the infant from her womb.

Clarisa Figueroa, 46, apparently wanted to raise another child two years after her adult son died of natural causes, investigators said.

“Words cannot express how disgusting and thoroughly disturbing these allegations are,” Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson told reporters at a news conference to announce the murder charges against Figueroa and her daughter, 24,  Desiree Figueroa. The mother’s boyfriend, Piotr Bobak, 40, was charged with concealment of a homicide.

The charges come three weeks after Marlen Ochoa-Lopez, 19, disappeared and a day after her body was discovered in a garbage can in the backyard of Figueroa’s home on the city’s Southwest Side, about six kilometres from her own home.

According to police, the teenager drove from her high school to Figueroa’s home in response to an offer of free clothes that Figueroa had posted on Facebook. When she arrived, police said, she was strangled and the baby cut from her body.

Clarisa Figueroa, who is charged in the death of 19-year-old expectant mother Marlen Ochoa-Lopez. Photo: AP

A few hours later, Figueroa frantically called 911, claiming that her newborn baby was not breathing. When first responders arrived, the child was blue. 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.

Police did not connect the woman’s disappearance and the 911 call about the baby until May 7, when friends of Ochoa-Lopez directed detectives to her social media account, which showed she had communicated with Figueroa in a Facebook group for expectant mothers.

At the same time, Clarisa Figueroa had started a GoFundMe campaign for the funeral of what she said was her dying baby, said Sara Walker, a spokeswoman for Ochoa-Lopez’s family.

Police then conducted DNA tests, which showed that Ochoa-Lopez and her husband, Yiovanni Lopez, were actually his parents, Walker said.

Desiree Figueroa has also been charged in relation to the death of the expectant mother. Photo: AP

When police arrived to question Figueroa, her daughter told them that her mother was in the hospital with some kind of leg injury, before adding that she had just delivered a baby, said Brendan Deenihan, deputy chief of detectives.

“She told an extremely odd story,” and officers “kind of knew where this is headed,” Deenihan said.

Police then searched the neighbourhood and found Ochoa-Ortiz’s car a few blocks away. On Tuesday, they returned with a search warrant, finding cleaning supplies as well as evidence of blood in the hallway and in the bathroom.

They later found the teen’s body in a trash can behind the house and recovered surveillance video that showed Ochoa-Ortiz’s vehicle driving through the neighbourhood on the day they believed she was killed, authorities said.

Arnulfo Ochoa, the father of the slain teenager shortly before identifying her body. Photo: Ashlee Rezin/AP

Ochoa-Lopez’s family had been looking for the teen since her disappearance, organizing search parties and holding news conferences as they pushed police for updates in the investigation.

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Her father, Arnulfo Ochoa, said relatives were grateful to have found her. Now they want justice. The family was also bracing for the baby’s death, while still hoping for a miracle.

“We plead to God that he gives us our child because that is a blessing that my wife left for us,” Yiovanni Lopez told reporters through a Spanish interpreter outside the county morgue where the teen’s body was taken.

The three suspects were scheduled to appear Friday in bond court.