CHICAGO (Fox 32 News) - The family of slain pregnant teen Marlen Ochoa-Lopez arrived Tuesday night in Chicago from Mexico.
It had been a long journey. They left their hometowns on Friday, taking a bus to the U.S. point of entry in Laredo, Texas. From there, they hopped on a flight from Houston to O’Hare Airport.
Landing in Chicago, it was bittersweet for both of Ochoa-Lopez’s grandmothers and the mother of her husband, Yiovanni Lopez. The women made the trip from Mexico together after customs granted permission for an emergency stay. The 20 days they will be in Chicago are especially meaningful to the family.
“There grandmothers that I had the privilege to speak to are prepared to come and hug their children at this horrific nightmare that they also say is happening to their family. So the anguish and sadness at losing Marlen is profound, but then there’s a part, a spark of hope inside of them They’re all religious women who pray the holy rosary and they’re waiting to be around their baby,” said family spokesperson Julie Contreras.
On Tuesday for the first time, the Illinois Department of Public Health stepped in saying they will investigate how one of the three accused killers, 46-year-old Clarisa Figueroa, was able to pass herself off as the mother to Ochoa-Lopez’s newborn son. It was weeks before anyone stopped her from visiting him in the hospital. Baby Giovanni remains on life support, but opened his eyes for his father on Monday.
Ochoa-Lopez was strangled to death in a home where she went to pick up baby clothes. Once dead, police say her baby was cut from her womb.
"Someone must be held accountable. The system failed Marlen who is now dead and doesn’t have a voice, but baby Giovanni fights for his life. He’s on machines that keep him alive, but his family has faith and there is prayer around him and they believe that God will heal him,” Contreras said.
The women were headed for Lincoln United Methodist Church Tuesday night. Ochoa-Lopez’s father and husband planned to be there, and some of the women of the church will be there to greet them as well – arms wide open.