The husband of a murdered 19-year-old whose baby was brutally cut from her womb vowed to get “justice” for his wife and son.
“My family and I won’t stop until they are punished for what they did,” Marlen Ochoa-Lopez’s devastated husband, 20-year-old Yovani Lopez, told The Daily Beast on Thursday.
Ochoa-Lopez, who was reported missing on April 23 after not picking up her son from day care, was found Wednesday morning in a trash can behind a home on the Southwest Side of Chicago.
Authorities say the home is owned by a 46-year-old woman they believe lured the 19-year-old into her house with a Facebook post offering free baby clothes. Inside the house, the nine-months pregnant mom was strangled and her baby was “forcibly removed” from her womb, the Cook County Medical Examiner said.
“She was a great person, somebody who would light up the room when she walked in,” Lopez said. “These bad people took that light away from my family, and I don’t know why.”
Ochoa-Lopez’s death has been ruled a homicide by the medical examiner. Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi confirmed Thursday that the 46-year-old woman and two others have been arrested and charges, including murder, will be filed Thursday afternoon. He said another “person of interest” is still being questioned.
“Right now, we believe all of them played some role in this unspeakable act of violence,” Guglielmi told The Daily Beast on Thursday.
Ochoa-Lopez’s baby was found on April 23—three hours after the young mom was last seen leaving her high school—when the 46-year-old woman called paramedics for help. She told dispatchers she had given birth to a baby boy inside her house, but was suffering from “post-delivery issues,” authorities said.
“The caller gave birth 10 minutes ago,” a 911 dispatcher told the Chicago Fire Department, according to a spokesperson. “Forty-six years of age. The baby isn’t breathing. The baby is pale and blue. They are doing CPR.”
The baby, whom Lopez named Yovani Yadiel on Wednesday, remains in “grave condition” at Christ Hospital. According to police, the baby suffered severe brain damage and is not expected to survive.
“He is not doing well,” Guglielmi said, adding that the family has indicated they have no plans to remove the newborn from life support.
Before she went missing three weeks ago, Ochoa-Lopez was last seen leaving Latino Youth High School in a black Honda Civic. She had a quick errand to run before getting her toddler from day care: picking up free baby supplies from a woman she had connected with on the Facebook group “Help a Sister Out.”
“She was giving clothes away, supposedly under the pretense that her daughters had been given clothes and they had all these extra boy clothes,” Cecelia Garcia, a spokeswoman for the Ochoa-Lopez family, said.
Several women in the Facebook group reached out to the Ochoa family after she was reported missing, sending along screenshots of messages between Ochoa-Lopez and the 46-year-old woman. The Facebook group has since been shut down.
“My girl has all brand new boy clothes her son never wore,” the woman told Ochoa-Lopez, according to screenshots of the conversation obtained by The Chicago Tribune.
“Yes girl that’s fine thank you so much,” Ochoa-Lopez responded.
“No problem girl,” the woman said. “I know how it is she was lucky to have two baby showers so she just loves to spread the wealth I’m fine with the help inbox me for more info ok.”
Police said they were led to the 46-year-old woman through an anonymous tip after she set up a GoFundMe campaign to raise $9,000 for her baby’s funeral, saying he was very sick and about to die. Garcia said Thursday that police finally concluded the women was not the baby’s mother after conducting a DNA test.