Baby Cut From Murdered Mom's Womb Opens His Eyes for the First Time in Dad's Arms

Yovani Lopez holds his young son close in the hospital.
Cecilia Garcia/Facebook

A grieving Chicago father, whose 19-year-old pregnant wife was murdered last month, has been reunited with the baby who was ripped from her womb just moments after she was strangled. Despite the grim prognosis, Yovani Lopez, has been sitting vigil at his son's bedside for nearly a week, praying for a miracle.

Now, it seems he got one -- albeit a small one.

  • On Monday, as the father held his baby -- who's been fighting for his life since his birth April 23 -- the infant opened his eyes for the first time.

    It had been a moment that the family had actively prayed for, according to CNN.

    “We were just praying and praying and he opened his eyes, and his dad said, 'Oh my God, he opened his eyes!'" Cecilia Garcia, a student pastor assisting the family, told the network.

    Garcia uploaded touching photos to Facebook of the moments right before the little boy opened his eyes, and the photos have steadily gone viral.

    "We’ve been blessed," Garcia continued. "Although this is a really bad tragedy, they’re such a loving and humble family and it’s just so wrong what happened to them."

  • Advertisement
  • Somehow, calling it a "tragedy" doesn't even begin to describe what the Lopez family has gone through.

    Marlen Ochoa-Lopez was last seen leaving her high school on April 23 when she set off to meet up with a 46-year-old woman she'd met online: Clarisa Figueroa. 

    Figueroa had claimed to be pregnant too, and due at the end of May. The pair had met in a community Facebook group called Help a Sista Out, and Figueroa had offered to give Ochoa-Lopez baby clothes and possibly a stroller.

    But their meeting that fateful day would take a horrible turn, as police believe Ochoa-Lopez was strangled with an electrical wire at Figueroa's home before her son, now named Yovanny Jardiel Lopez, was cut from her womb. 

  • Figueroa then called 911, claiming that she'd just given birth to a baby boy at home and he was turning blue.

    The boy was rushed to a nearby hospital, where he remained for weeks as Ochoa-Lopez's family continued to frantically search for her, along with authorities. 

    In fact, Figueroa continued to pretend the infant was her own -- even naming him Xavier Xander, after her adult son who died in 2017. A GoFundMe page, which has since been removed from the website, even told a heartbreaking tale about the baby boy she'd given birth to, who just needed a fighting chance.

    The terrible truth behind his birth story, however, would soon catch up with Figueroa.

  • Figueroa was arrested at her home on May 16, along with her daughter, 24-year-old Desiree Figueroa, and her boyfriend, 40-year-old Piotr Bobak.

    Their crime is almost unimaginabl, to everyone who hears it, but especially to those who knew and loved Ochoa-Lopez.

    “I felt like I was watching a scary movie when I heard about this. It was really bad,” Garcia told CNN.

    But despite the grisly way Marlen was taken from them, the entire Lopez family -- and especially Yovani -- is doing their best to stay positive.

    “[Marlen] evoked the whole nation of people, pouring their love out for this family," said Garcia. "[Yovani is] a single dad now, and we’re praying this baby makes it."

  • In the meantime, baby Yovanny is still in critical condition, as doctors monitor his progress.

    According to NBC News, the family is aware that the baby's outlook does not look good, but are holding on to every ounce of faith they have that a miracle will happen.

    "We plead to God that he gives us our child because that is a blessing that my wife left for us," Yovani Lopez told reporters last week, while standing outside the morgue where Marlen's body is being kept.

    "It's so hurtful, so hurtful to see the person, your wife, who you lived with for four years and now you see her with her eyes closed," he continued. “We’re going to have justice with those responsible. We’re going to go hard after them. We won’t let it go.”

    Figueroa and her daughter were denied bond in a court appearance on Friday, NBC reports, as was Bobak, who is charged with concealing a murder.