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Illinois woman pleads guilty to gruesome murder of pregnant teen

by | Jan 11, 2024

By Nancy Flanders 

An Illinois woman has pleaded guilty to murder charges in connection to the violent death of 19-year-old pregnant Marlen Ochoa-Lopez and her baby, who was cut out of her womb during her killing in 2019. Desiree Figueroa, 29, and her mother, Clarisa Figueroa, allegedly carried out the horrific act together.

Desiree Figueroa pleaded guilty on Monday to one count of first-degree murder, according to Cook County court records and CBS News. Desiree agreed to testify against her mother in a plea deal exchange for a 30-year sentence. The pair is facing charges of murder as well as kidnapping, dismembering a body, and concealing a homicide in the deaths of Ochoa-Lopez and her infant son, Yovanny Lopez. 

According to police, shortly after Clarisa’s adult son died of natural causes, she announced to her family that she was pregnant. She wasn’t, but she spent months planning how she would find a newborn to pass off as her own and tell her boyfriend the child was his. She shared an ultrasound and photos of a baby’s nursery on her Facebook page and then in March 2019, she and Ochoa-Lopez began speaking in a Facebook group for pregnant women. 

In April, Ochoa-Lopez went to Clarisa’s home and left unharmed. But three weeks later, she returned after Clarisa offered her free baby clothes. As Desiree showed Ochoa-Lopez photos of her deceased brother in order to distract her, Clarisa came up from behind Ochoa-Lopez and strangled her with a cord. She was nine months pregnant at the time.

Prosecutors say that once the pair believed Ochoa-Lopez to be dead, Clarisa began to cut the baby from her womb with a butcher knife. After removing the baby, the mother and daughter wrapped Ochoa-Lopez’s body in a blanket, put it in a plastic bag, and dragged it to an outside garbage can. 

Later that same day, Clarisa called 911 for help, stating that her newborn was not breathing. First responders found the baby blue and brought him to a hospital, claiming he was her son. It took three weeks for the baby’s true identity to be revealed after police began investigating Ochoa-Lopez’s disappearance. Yovanny had suffered a severe brain injury and died two months later in his father’s arms. 

Clarisa’s boyfriend, Piotr Bobak, pleaded guilty to one count of obstruction of justice for his part in helping to cover up the murders. He cleaned up the murder scene and was sentenced to four years in prison. He was given a credit of three years and eight months and has since been released.

Research published in 2021, in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology revealed that the leading cause of death among pregnant women is homicide. The study found that homicide during pregnancy “exceeded all the leading causes of maternal mortality.”

Editor’s note. This appeared at Live Action News and reposted with permission.

Categories: Crime