Grim new details have emerged about the murder of a pregnant teenager whose baby was cut from her womb, as prosecutors described how the teen was lured by a Facebook ad for free baby clothes and her accused killer claimed the baby as her own.
"Words really cannot express how disgusting and thoroughly disturbing these allegations are," Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said at a news conference.
Marlen Ochoa-Lopez, 19, was 9 months pregnant when she was killed and she is survived by a 3-year-old child. Her baby is in grave condition at a hospital with no brain activity, according to prosecutors.
Prosecutors in Chicago have charged Clarisa Figueroa, 46, and her daughter Desiree Figueroa, 24, with the murder. At the news conference, they detailed what they say happened in excruciating detail.
They allege that Clarisa Figueroa posted an offer of free baby clothes on a Facebook page called "Help a Mother Out," which they described as a group that offers access to baby items for "families in need," and that Ochoa-Lopez responded to the post and arranged to meet Figueroa at her Chicago-area home.
Desiree Figueroa is alleged to have distracted Ochoa-Lopez with a photo album of Clarisa Figueroa's dead adult son so that Clarisa Figueroa could strangle the teen with a cable.
At one point, Ochoa-Lopez was able to slip her fingers between her neck and the cable, keeping herself from being strangled, and, according to Murphy, this prompted the elder Figueroa to yell at her daughter, "you're not doing your f------ job!"
"Defendant Desiree then stepped up and began to peel the victim's fingers from the cable one by one," Assistant State's Attorney James Murphy told reporters.
Clarisa and Desiree Figueroa have been charged with murder, while Clarisa Figueroa's 40-year-old boyfriend Piotr Bobak has been charged with helping to cover up the alleged crime. All three appeared in Cook County Court Friday and were denied release on bail.
Julie Contreras, the spokeswoman for Ochoa-Lopez's family, said that the family is asking for "justice for Marlen."
"Today is a sad day. Today is a day of anguish that this family is living through. A nightmare, a horror film," Contreras told reporters at court.
Murphy said that following Ochoa-Lopez's murder, Clarisa Figueroa brought the baby to a nearby hospital, where it was admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit. Clarisa Figueroa then allegedly formed a GoFundMe page in an effort to raise money for the baby, who she was passing off as her own.
Bobak shared a link to the fundraiser on his Facebook page, Murphy said.
When police arrived at Figueroa's house on May 14 to execute a search warrant, police reportedly saw Bobak cleaning a rug with bleach.
Police later found Ochoa-Lopez's body in a trash can on the property. Investigators believe the murder took place on April 23.