CHICAGO LAWN — The family of slain 19-year-old Marlen Ochoa-Lopez is calling for people to perform acts of kindness in honor of the murdered teen and her infant son.
Marlen Ochoa-Lopez’s father and husband held a vigil Sunday to honor the baby, Yovanny Jadiel Lopez, who died two months after being ripped from his mother’s womb in 2019.
Julie Contreras, a family spokeswoman and pastor of United Methodist Church, called for acts of kindness to honor him.
“We gather today … to give honor to a baby who died so unjustly,” Contreras said. “Instead of talking about the negative — our nation and our city have suffered so much from COVID and the civil unrest — we want to heal.”
Contreras said “the system,” including the Police Department, failed the family during the search of Ochoa-Lopez. But instead of focusing on the “negative … we want to heal,” Contreras said.
Ochoa-Lopez’s family and their advocates have previously been critical of how the case was handled and said police did not have translators for them.
After the sidewalk vigil, the family delivered meals to 8th District police officers to help.
“We are planting a seed of kindness … and we hope that it can grow,” and other families in search of a loved ones don’t suffer in the same ways, Contreras said. “We want kindness so our community heals.”
The case received international attention at the time.
On April 23, 2019, Ochoa-Lopez was lured to a home in Scottsdale, where her killers strangled her and cut the baby from her womb, prosecutors said. Her body was then hidden in a trash can.
Clarisa Figueroa; her daughter, Desiree Figueroa; and Clarisa Figueroa’s boyfriend, Piotr Bobak, were charged with murder in Ochoa-Lopez’s killing. They were later charged with the murder of Ochoa-Lopez’s infant son.
All three defendants have pleaded not guilty.
After the attack, Clarisa Figueroa called 911 and claimed she had given birth at home, prosecutors said.
The woman and baby were rushed to Advocate Christ Medical Center, where the baby had no brain activity.
Though Figureoa was examined and showed no signs of having given birth, it wasn’t until later that investigators used DNA tests to show Figueroa and Bobak weren’t the parents of the baby.
Instead, the tests showed Ochoa-Lopez and her husband, Yovani Lopez, were the infant’s parents. An investigation revealed the Figueroas and Bobak killed Ochoa Lopez, stole the child from her womb so they could raise it as their own and tried to hide her body in a garbage can at the home, prosecutors said.
Once the Lopez family was reunited the baby, they named him Yovanny Jadiel. The baby’s father said the way in which he was removed from Ochoa-Lopez’s body had left him with brain damage.
After being on life support for two months, the baby died in June 2019.
That September, Judge Peggy Chiampas denied a gag order defense attorneys were seeking.
In November, Desiree Figueroa, the youngest of the defendants charged in the murder, gave birth to her own baby.