Missing Pregnant Mom of 2 Found Dead After Unborn Baby Was Cut from Her Womb

Close-up on Marlen Ochoa-Lopez before she was murdered.
WGN/YouTube

A horrifying story out of Illinois is unfolding this week, and it sounds almost too gruesome to believe. According to CNN, a 19-year-old pregnant woman, who had been missing since April 23, was found in a Chicago-area home strangled to death -- and her fetus appears to have been forcibly cut from her womb.

  • Marlen Ochoa-Lopez was nine months pregnant when she reportedly went to pick up baby items from a woman she met in a Facebook group.

    Witnesses last spotted the young mother leaving Latino Youth High School, and according to friends and family, she was due to pick up her 3-year-old at daycare shortly after. 

    It was supposed to be a quick errand -- just a fast stop to pick up some baby clothes and hopefully, a double stroller.

    But when Ochoa-Lopez never showed to pick up her daughter, loved ones immediately contacted police. Sadly, it would be weeks before they'd learn her fate.

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  • Investigators now believe Ochoa-Lopez was lured to the home in an apparent ploy to steal her baby.

    "We believe that she was murdered, and we believe that the baby was forcibly removed following that murder," said Anthony Guglielmi, a Chicago police spokesman, according to CNN.

    In fact, a 911 call was made from the home where the mother's body was found the very day she disappeared, reporting a newborn in distress.

    According to the BBC, a 46-year-old woman called paramedics claiming that she'd just given birth at home and that the baby -- a newborn boy -- was having breathing trouble.

    Disturbingly, we now know that Ochoa-Lopez's body must have been just a matter of yards away from first responders when they entered the home but not within view.

  • Although it was not known at the time of the birth, DNA results have since concluded that the child is Ochoa-Lopez's son.

    He had to be rushed to the hospital shortly after paramedics arrived, where he's remained for the last month in critical condition

    The Chicago Tribune reports that the infant was declared brain dead, because of the lack of oxygen he received during birth, but that doctors at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn have kept him on life support.

    Meanwhile, the 46-year-old woman reportedly set up a GoFundMe campaign for the child, along with other residents of the home on 77th Place, where Ochoa-Lopez was murdered. It set a funding goal of $9,000, and even featured several photos of Ochoa-Lopez's baby in the hospital, hooked up to various monitors, but has since been removed from the website.

  • This week, authorities closed in on several leads, and arrested four people from the home, including the 46-year-old woman who has not yet been named.

    Ochoa-Lopez's black Honda Civic was reportedly found just blocks away, where it had gathered several parking tickets since being abandoned. And behind the home, investigators discovered the mother's body, though how and where exactly it was being kept has not been released.

    "It just seems surreal. You see this stuff on the movies. You never get to know someone; people actually are this evil," Cecelia Garcia, a spokeswoman for the victim's family, told ABC 7.

  • For now, Ochoa-Lopez's family continue to keep vigil around the bedside of her newborn son, who has been named Yovani Yadiel Lopez.

    The baby is said to have been named for Ochoa-Lopez's 20-year-old husband, Yovani, who reportedly stood outside the Cook County medical examiner's office on Wednesday and voiced his grief and outrage over who would do such a thing to a young pregnant mother.

    "Why did these people, why did these bad people do this?" Lopez allegedly asked. "She did nothing to them. She was a good person."

    While an investigation continues to wage on, the grieving husband declared that justice would be served.

    “We’re going to have justice with those responsible,” he said. “We’re going to go hard after them. We won’t let it go.”