Marlen Ochoa-Uriostegui and her baby boy Yavani Yadiel Lopez | Family photos
CHICAGO (FOX 32/AP) - Police believe a 19-year-old pregnant woman who went missing was lured to a home on the Southwest Side, killed, and then her unborn child was cut out of her body, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
On Wednesday night, the Cook County Medical Examiner confirmed the body found in a garbage can at a home in the 4100 block of West 77th Place is that of Marlen Ochoa-Uriostegui, who went missing three weeks ago on April 23rd. She was strangled to death, according to the medical examiner. Her death is considered a homicide.
"We believe that she was murdered and we believe that the baby was forcibly removed following that murder," said Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi. He adds the baby was hospitalized and is in "grave" condition.
A family member of the victim told FOX 32 that before Ochoa-Uriostegui was reported missing, she went to the 4100 block of West 77th Place to swap baby strollers with a woman she met in a Facebook group for pregnant mothers who claimed that she was pregnant as well.
Then, Ochoa-Uriostegui never showed up to pick up her 3-year-old son from daycare on April 23rd. Soon after, she was reported missing.
The same day Ochoa-Uriostegui was reported missing, a baby was rushed to Advocate Christ Medical Center with brain injuries from the 4100 block of West 77th Place, according to the victim's family.
The family of Ochoa-Uriostegui says DNA tests concluded that the baby rushed to the hospital is, in fact, the child of Ochoa-Uriostegui.
Guglielmi also said investigators are interviewing multiple people taken from the Southwest Side home about the slaying of Ochoa-Uriostegui.
"We believe all of them played some role in this unspeakable act of violence," he said.
Husband Giovanni Lopez was the first to arrive at the medical examiner’s office Wednesday night. He wiped tears from his eyes as he spoke in Spanish about the mother of his child and the baby boy he named Yavani Yadiel Lopez, who’s on life support at the hospital. He managed to muster a few words through his grief.
“I have a lot of pain, a lot of anguish, a lot of sadness. I can’t anymore. It’s painful to lose your wife, the woman you love the most. It’s painful,” Lopez said.
Yavani Yadiel Lopez has no brain function, but the family says they have no plans to remove him from life-support. With Ochoa-Uriostegui's death, the family is holding onto any hope that their last connection to her will live on.
“We’re gonna have justice with those responsible. We’re gonna go hard after them. We won’t let it go. They don’t know the pain they’ve caused. They don’t know,” Lopez said.
“What they did to her, it’s just inhumane. I don’t know how someone could just be so evil,” said neighbor Veronica Soto.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.