Clarisa Figueroa, a Chicago woman accused of killing a pregnant teenager and cutting her baby out of her, allegedly faked her own pregnancy, the Chicago Tribune reports.
In late April, as Chicago's WBBM-TV reports, 19-year-old high school student Marlen Ochoa went missing. The teen, who was in the advanced stages of a pregnancy at the time, had been last seen leaving her high school on the city's southwest side. On Wednesday, Ochoa's remains were found. She had been murdered through strangulation, and her abdomen had been sliced open and the baby removed.
Earlier that day, a baby had been taken to the city's Christ Medical Center. Ochoa's family later confirmed that the baby, named Yavani Yadiel Lopez, was hers, and that he is in grave condition.
Police had been given a lead in the case by a tipster who told them that Ochoa had belonged to a Facebook group for new moms, called "Help a Mother Out," where moms would exchange baby clothes and supplies with each other. Figueroa allegedly used that group to get into contact with Ochoa, luring the teenager to her (Figueroa's) home with the promise of baby clothes.
Instead, Figueroa and her adult daughter, Desiree, 24, allegedly conspired to murder Ochoa and take her baby. On April 23, as Ochoa was distracted by baby photos, the elder Figueroa reportedly strangled the teenaged mother with a cable. Per the Chicago Tribune's report, Clarisa hid the body and called 911, saying she had just given birth and that the baby was not breathing.At the hospital, Clarisa showed no signs of having given birth. Soon hospital officials and police connected the dots and charged Clarisa and her daughter with first-degree murder. Clarisa's boyfriend, 40-year-old Piotr Bobak, has been charged with concealment of a homicide.
Authorities say that murdering Ochoa and stealing her baby was the culmination of the elder Figueroa's months-long plan to fake a pregnancy and take another woman's baby to claim as her own. Though the 45-year-old suspect already had her Fallopian tubes tied, back in November 2018 she began announcing on Facebook that she was pregnant. She even posted pictures of ultrasounds and a painted baby's bedroom and said she'd name the baby Xander, after her 20-year-old son who had died previously.
Prosecutors say she even used the Facebook group to pick out women who were nearing the ends of their pregnancies, at one point asking for mothers due to give birth in May to identify themselves.
Figueroa and her two alleged co-conspirators are currently being held without bail.