The mother and daughter accused of killing a pregnant 19-year-old in Chicago before cutting out her baby distracted her with a photo album in order to strangle her from behind, prosecutors said in court documents.
In an effort to convince a judge not to release the mother, 46-year-old Clarisa Figueroa, and daughter, 24-year-old Desiree Figueroa, from custody, prosecutors on Friday detailed how the duo allegedly plotted to kill Marlen Ochoa-Lopez, who was nine months pregnant.
On April 23, the Figueroas allegedly lured Ochoa-Lopez to their home after she got out of high school under the guise of giving her free baby clothes and a stroller that had been offered in a Facebook group for pregnant mothers. When Ochoa-Lopez arrived, prosecutors say she was shown an album of photos of Clarisa’s late son. That's when Clarisa snuck up on Ochoa-Lopez and allegedly attempted to strangle her from behind with a cord.
But prosecutors say Ochoa-Lopez was able to get her fingers between the cord and her neck, prompting Clarisa to yell at her daughter to help. Clarisa then climbed on top of Ochoa-Lopez and continued to strangle her for 4 to 5 minutes until they were sure she was dead, prosecutors said.
After the baby was cut out, Ochoa-Lopez's body was disposed of in a trash can behind the house.
Clarisa then called 911, claiming the baby she had just delivered herself was not breathing. The baby was taken to the hospital and is now in grave condition with "zero brain activity," the court documents state.
Clarisa later set up a GoFundMe account, claiming it was for her dying baby.
Police did not connect Ochoa-Lopez's disappearance with the 911 call until May 7, when detectives were made aware of Clarisa's communication with the high schooler in the Facebook group.
Detectives then conducted DNA tests that showed Ochoa-Lopez and her husband were actually the baby's parents, Sara Walker, a spokesperson for Ochoa-Lopez’s family, told the Associated Press.
Those findings led to the unraveling of the Figueroas' story after police obtained warrants to conduct searches and found evidence inside the home and Ochoa-Lopez’s body in the trash can.
Prosecutors say Ochoa-Lopez's gruesome death was the result of Clarisa's deep desire to raise another child after her own 20-year-old son, Xander, died of natural causes.
She allegedly first told her daughter she was pregnant in October 2018, despite the fact that her tubes had been tied. In December, the 46-year-old also posted ultrasound pictures on Facebook of the baby she claimed to be pregnant with.
Her boyfriend, Peter Bobak, who has been charged with allegedly concealing the death, also appears to have posted the ultrasound to Facebook. However, the image was apparently created with an app that generates fake ultrasound pictures.
Ochoa-Lopez first connected with her alleged killer in a Facebook group for expecting mothers, where Clarisa posted in February that she'd named her baby Xander and shared photos of a decorated nursery.
The two first spoke after Clarisa asked the Facebook group in March, "Who is due in May where is the May mamas at," according to the court documents. The two then began communicating and Clarisa offered the free baby clothes and a stroller.
Earlier, Clarisa had told Desiree "she needed help killing a pregnant woman and taking a baby," the court documents state. Desiree, who allegedly confessed to police, initially refused and told her boyfriend.
Ochoa-Lopez first went to the house on April 1. During the visit, Clarisa and Desiree "kept acting strange and on numerous occasions went into a separate room together," the court documents state. But Desiree's boyfriend, who was also there, told the duo he'd go to the police if they tried to kill Ochoa-Lopez. After the expectant mother left, Clarisa told the boyfriend "it was just an April Fool's joke."
The mother and daughter now face charges of first-degree murder and aggravated battery on a child, and remain in custody.
"Words really cannot express how disgusting and thoroughly disturbing these allegations are," Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said at a news conference Thursday.
Ochoa-Lopez was married and also has a 3-year-old son. Her husband, Yiovanni Lopez, has been visiting his newborn son in the hospital, who he said remains in a coma.
"We plead to God that he gives us our child because that is a blessing that my wife left for us," he said in Spanish alongside a translator.