25 May 2019 | The funeral was held today for Marlen Ochoa-Lopez, an Adventist who was strangled last month while nine months pregnant. 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 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.