Baby Ripped From Mom's Womb Just Passed Away, Family Says

Yovanny Lopez is held in the hospital by his father
ABC 11/YouTube

For weeks, a Chicago family has been sitting vigil by the bedside of their baby boy, who was brutally ripped from the womb of his mother, 19-year-old Marlen Ochoa-Lopez, shortly after she was murdered on April 23. They've been living a nightmare almost too painful to even fathom, yet hoping against hope that the infant, Yovanny Lopez, would pull through. Sadly, despite signs of improvement in recent weeks, a family spokesperson shared Friday that Yovanny passed away due to his injuries

  • “It is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of baby Yovanny Jadiel Lopez,” Julie Contreras said in a statement on Facebook.

    “He passed away this Friday June 14, 2019 from his severe brain injury,” the statement continued. "Please keep his family in your thoughts & prayers as they go through this difficult time."

    The infant had not originally been expected to survive and has been on life support since entering hospital care. In recent weeks, however, signs of improvement had given the Lopez family hope.

    On May 21, baby Yovanny opened his eyes for the very first time -- a moment that overjoyed the family but especially his father. 

    “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 CNN at the time.

    "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."

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  • Just two weeks ago, the family shared the happy news that the infant was showing more signs of improvement.

    In a press conference June 3, the family's attorney, Frank Avilia, shared that the baby was breathing on his own. "It's still a long way to go for the baby, but the baby is fighting and surviving," Avila said.

    Yet on Wednesday, Avila shared that the baby's health had taken a turn. 

    "He can't breathe on his own. He can't eat on his own. There's tubes down his throat," he said, according to CNN

    Contreras added this: "He suffered irrevocable brain damage. There's no medicine, there's no pill that can fix that. Only a miracle."

    But sadly, even a miracle couldn't save little Yovanny.
  • Police arrested 46-year-old Clarissa Figueroa on May 16 in connection with Ochoa-Lopez's murder, after the teen's body was discovered in her backyard.

    Prosecutors say she lured the teen to her home on two separate occasions with promises of free baby items after the pair connected in a Facebook group for local moms. The first time, Ochoa-Lopez was given baby clothes, which is likely what led her to believe it was safe to return. 

    But after returning on April 23, she was strangled with a coaxial cable by Figueroa's daughter Desiree, before Figueroa cut into her stomach and removed the baby boy, according to prosecutors.

    They allege Ochoa-Lopez's body was then hidden in a trash bin in the backyard, with help from Figueroa's boyfriend, Piotr Bobak, until police discovered it several weeks later.

    All three have since been charged and are being held without bond.

  • Figueroa reportedly called 911 several hours after the murder, claiming to have just given birth herself at home and that the boy was unresponsive.

    Incredibly, Figueroa was somehow able to pretend she was the baby's mother for several weeks -- despite doctors and nurses immediately recognizing she had not given birth, after an initial exam. The hospital, Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, is under investigation as authorities probe further.

  • The baby's death marks yet another tragedy for the Lopez family, who finally laid Marlen to rest May 25.

    It also begins another chapter in the nightmare, as more charges are likely to be applied to Figueroa and her daughter Desiree, now that Yovanny has also died.

    Although the matter is still under investigation, prosecutors say they believe Figueroa wanted to raise the boy as her own and had been desperately trying to have another child since her adult son Xander passed away in 2017.