Family of Adventist Slain for Her Baby Demand Answers from Hospital
30 May 2019 | Family members of an Adventist woman killed for her unborn son are questioning the hospital to which the alleged murderers took the infant after strangling his mother. The child of Marlen Ochoa-Lopez, 19, was presented with the placenta still attached. Police say the baby had breathing problems when he arrived at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Illinois, on 23 April.
The Epoch Times reports that family members want to know why the hospital did not raise the alarm with authorities after Clarisa Figueroa, who brought in the child, was determined not to be his mother.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported that the local sheriff’s department will verify whether the hospital violated the Abuse and Neglected Children Reporting Act.
“We will consult with DCFS and if they determine the facts and circumstances of this tragedy were such that should have been reported by mandated reporters. We will ensure an investigation takes place,” sheriff’s office spokeswoman Cara Smith told the Times.
The funeral for Ochoa-Lopez took place on May 25. Her baby boy was removed from her womb and survived, although he is in critical condition. The body of Ochoa-Lopez was found on May 15.
In a statement about the death, Lake Union President Maurice Valentine said, “It is with heartfelt sorrow that we, the Lake Union Conference officers and staff, share our collective thoughts of grief and utter dismay with the Chicago area faith community for the tragic death of Marlen Ochoa-Lopez.
“Moreover, we express our profound sense of sorrow to the husband, sibling, family, church family and surrounding community of the South Shore Spanish Seventh-day Adventist Church for this senseless loss, and our prayers for the baby that struggles to survive this horrific act. Knowing death was never a part of God’s plan, we are disturbed by any loss of life. However, this instance of unspeakable violence toward a young mother of our church family causes our hearts to mourn in ways beyond words’ description.
“We ask the Lake Union Conference family encompassing our four-state region to thoughtfully join us in prayer for this family as we work collectively for a day when sin, violence and viciousness will have no place in God’s universe.”
The victim’s father, Arnulfo Lopez, attends the Des Moines Spanish Seventh-day Adventist Church. His congregation is collecting donations to support the victim’s family.
According to the Lake Union Herald, Lopez told reporters that he and his family are trusting in God despite the murder of his daughter.
“It is a terrible crime. We must remember that God will return one day and bring His people home, but while we are here, we will suffer. We must believe God is with us,” said Lopez.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported that Ochoa-Lopez leaves behind her three-year-old son Joshua and her infant who remains on life support.
The funeral was held at Mount Auburn Funeral Home in Stickney, Illinois.
Her father was one of the the six pallbearers who carried the casket of Ochoa-Lopez out of the funeral home.
He had headed up the search for Ochoa-Lopez after her disappearance on April 23.
Speaking to the Sun-Times via a phone interview after the funeral, Ochoa said he is grateful for the support his family has received from the Chicago community over the last few weeks.
“We didn’t expect so many people to come,” Arnulfo Lopez said in Spanish. “Today we laid her to rest, but did not say goodbye. She will live forever in our hearts, and we will meet her again in heaven.”
Ochoa-Lopez was buried at a burial plot close to the funeral home.
The Sun-Times reports that Ochoa-Lopez was killed at a home on Chicago’s Southwest Side after responding to an offer for free baby clothes and supplies from a woman she had met on Facebook. Authorities allege that 46-year-old Clarisa Figueroa and her 24-year-old daughter Desiree Figueroa, strangled the victim and cut out her baby from her womb.
The older Figueroa claimed for two weeks that the baby was her own. She and her daughter were jailed without bail, as well as Piotr Bobak, the older Figueroa’s boyfriend, who allegedly concealed a homicide.
The infant, named Yovani after his father, suffered brain damage and recently opened his eyes for the first time.