Marlen Ochoa-Lopez, 19, and her baby are shown in these provided photos. Authorities said Ochoa-Lopez drove to the suspects' home in response to an offer of free clothes posted in a Facebook group. (Photo credit: Provided / family)
CHICAGO - Authorities released graphic details of a grisly murder in which a pregnant teenager in Chicago was strangled to death, while one of the killers allegedly cut open her abdomen “from side-to-side” to remove her unborn baby from the womb.
Assistant State's Attorney James Murphy said during a press conference Friday that Clarisa Figeuroa allegedly told her daughter, 24-year-old Desiree Figueroa, that “she needed help killing a pregnant woman and taking a baby.”
Authorities said the victim, 19-year-old Marlen Ochoa-Lopez who was nine months pregnant, drove from her high school to the Figueroa's home on the city's Southwest Side in response to an offer of free clothes that Figueroa had posted on Facebook.
When Ochoa-Lopez arrived, she sat on the couch in the living room, Murphy said. Clarisa, 46, and Desiree turned up the volume of music playing, went into the kitchen and “discussed their plan to strangle the victim and cut the victim's baby out of her.”
When they returned to the living room, Desiree allegedly distracted Ochoa-Lopez with a photo album of Clarisa's late son, Murphy said.
“As the victim looked at the photo album, defendant Clarisa wrapped a cable around her hands and then wrapped it around the victim's neck from behind her,” Murphy said.
The pregnant 19-year-old attempted to stop Clarisa and was able to place her fingers between her neck and the cable strangling her, Murphy told reporters. At that point, Clarisa allegedly told her daughter, "You're not doing your f---ing job!"
This is when Desiree stepped up, according to Murphy, and allegedly began to peel the teen's fingers from the cable “one by one.”
Clarisa then allegedly tightened her grip of the cable more around the teen's neck, got on top of her and continued to strangle her for approximately “four to five minutes,” Murphy said.
During this struggle, Ochoa-Lopez “reached out toward the defendants' dog and touched its nose and then (she) urinated on herself as she died,” Murphy said.
Clarisa then allegedly told her daughter that the victim “must be dead because she researched it,” adding that it takes “four to five minutes to strangle someone with a cord” and that person will “urinate on themselves when they die,” Murphy said.
Once Ochoa-Lopez died, Clarisa told her daughter to get a blanket, a large plastic bag and a butcher knife, Murphy said, adding that Desiree retrieved those items and then left her mother with the victim.
In graphic detail, Murphy explained how Clarisa then allegedly took a knife and sliced open Ochoa-Lopez's abdomen “from side-to-side” and removed the umbilical cord, the placenta and the baby from inside the victim.
Clarisa then allegedly put the placenta and baby inside a bucket, “with the umbilical cord sticking out.”
Murphy said this was when Desiree returned, and Clarisa allegedly wrapped Ochoa-Lopez's body in a blanket, “and then shoved the victim into a large plastic bag and tied it tight.”
“Clarisa then lugged the bag, with the victim’s body inside it, to a garbage can, which was kept hidden on the side of their garage,” Murphy said.
A few hours later, Clarisa frantically called 911, claiming that she delivered her own baby and that the newborn was not breathing. When first responders arrived, Clarisa was holding Ochoa-Lopez's baby with the placenta and umbilical cord still attached, Murphy said.
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.
Ochoa-Lopez's family had been looking for her since she disappeared on April 23, organizing search parties and holding news conferences as they pushed police for updates in the investigation.
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 Clarisa in a Facebook group for expectant mothers.
Police conducted DNA tests, which showed that Ochoa-Lopez and her husband, Yiovanni Lopez, were actually the baby boy's parents, authorities said.
When police arrived to question Clarisa, 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 neighborhood and found Ochoa-Lopez's car a few blocks away. 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 body in a trash can behind the house and recovered surveillance video that showed Ochoa-Lopez's vehicle driving through the neighborhood on the day they believed she was killed, authorities said.
Authorities said Clarisa apparently wanted to raise another child two years after her adult son died of natural causes, according to investigators.
Both Figueroas were charged with murder, and Clarisa's boyfriend, 40-year-old Piotr Bobak, has been charged with the concealment of a homicide.
"Words cannot express how disgusting and thoroughly disturbing these allegations are," Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson told reporters at a news conference to announce the charges.
This story was reported from Los Angeles. The Associated Press contributed.