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CrimeFlowers, chocolates, a kite with bright yellow stars: Friends remember Marlen Ochoa-Lopez, ‘a tough girl’

21:35  17 may  2019
21:35  17 may  2019 Source:   chicagotribune.com

Pregnant Chicago woman found murdered; baby found alive

Pregnant Chicago woman found murdered; baby found alive Marlen Ochoa-Lopez was strangled, authorities said. Police said her baby, who was in grave condition, had been "forcibly removed" from her mother's body.

Marlen Ochoa - Lopez was strangled, authorities said. Police said her baby, who was in grave She set down things she thought Marlen would have liked: flowers , chocolates , a pregnancy book and a kite decorated The crowd, which included groups of teenage girls , handed around a box of tissues.

Flowers , chocolates , a kite with bright yellow stars : Friends remember Marlen Ochoa - Lopez , ‘ a tough girl ’ ». On a Facebook page meant for mothers, the elder Figueroa posted in February that she had named her infant Xander and displayed a photo of a crib and decorated baby room.

Flowers, chocolates, a kite with bright yellow stars: Friends remember Marlen Ochoa-Lopez, ‘a tough girl’© Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune/TNS/Getty Images Arnulfo Ochoa, father of 19-year-old Marlen Ochoa-Lopez, who was strangled and her baby boy cut from her womb, visits the Cook County Medical Examiner's office on Thursday, May 16, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois.

Julia Rooney made her way through the somber crowd and knelt on the lawn of a home where Marlen Ochoa-Lopez — a young woman she had mentored — had been found dead less than 48 hours before.

She set down things she thought Marlen would have liked: flowers, chocolates, a pregnancy book and a kite decorated with a unicorn and bright yellow stars.

Three People Have Been Charged In The Death Of Marlen Ochoa

Three People Have Been Charged In The Death Of Marlen Ochoa Three people were charged Thursday afternoon in the death of pregnant teenager Marlen Ochoa, whose body was discovered in a garbage can and her baby cut out of her womb. Clarisa Figueroa, 46, and her daughter Desiree Figueroa, 24, have been charged with murder, and Desiree confessed to helping her mother strangle Ochoa with a coaxial cable, according to Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson. © Provided by CBS Local, a division of CBS Radio Inc © Provided by CBS Local, a division of CBS Radio IncPolice say Clarisa Figueroa and Ochoa knew each other from previous exchanges of baby clothes.

Flowers , chocolates , a kite with bright yellow stars : Friends remember Marlen Ochoa - Lopez , ‘ a tough girl ’ ». On April 1, Ochoa - Lopez visited the Figueroa residence in the 4100 block of West 77th Place. Figueroa, who prosecutors said had previously confided to her daughter that she needed help

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“I would like to make sure that it looks nice,” Rooney said about the growing memorial to the 19-year-old.

As police released details of how Ochoa-Lopez was lured to the Southwest Side home and killed — and her baby cut from her womb — Rooney was among a crowd of 40 to 50 people who watched over a memorial as the sun set Thursday.

Friends, neighbors and a day care worker who watches Ochoa-Lopez’s toddler son, left behind teddy bears, flowers and religious candles.

The crowd, which included groups of teenage girls, handed around a box of tissues. Rooney took out a notebook and marker so people could write condolences to the family. People walking by stopped in front of the memorial to make the sign of the cross. Motorists slowed down and took photos.

Mother, daughter held without bond in killing of pregnant teen strangled before baby cut from womb

Mother, daughter held without bond in killing of pregnant teen strangled before baby cut from womb One of the women accused of strangling 19-year-old Marlen Ochoa-Lopez and cutting her full-term baby from her womb had pretended for months beforehand that she was pregnant, Cook County prosecutors said in court Friday. 

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Marlen Ochoa-Lopez dreamed of becoming a singer or fashion designer: 'She had a big future' »

“My God, it’s just so scary,” said Sara Lopez, a neighbor.

Ochoa-Lopez went missing on April 23, less than two weeks from when she was expected to give birth to her second son. At 19, she was married and hoping to graduate from the Latino Youth High School.

Chicago police and her family believe Ochoa-Lopez left the high school and drove to the 4100 block of West 77th Place to pick up a double stroller and baby clothes from a woman she’d met through a Facebook group for mothers. Once inside, she was killed and the baby removed, police said.

“I feel angry and really hurt and just devastated,” said Keiddy Ramos, who had stopped by with Rooney. She buried her face in her hands as she knelt in front of the memorial.

The Marlen Ochoa-Lopez slaying: Mother and daughter charged with strangling teen mom, cutting baby from womb »

Funeral announced for murdered pregnant Chicago teen

Funeral announced for murdered pregnant Chicago teen Three people have been charged in connection to the murder of Marlen Ochoa-Lopez, a 19 year old who responded to an offer of free baby clothes on Facebook.

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Ramos, 28, thought of Ochoa-Lopez as a little sister. They became friends after meeting at a church. The two bonded over their experiences as young mothers, their love of beauty and makeup trends.

Just a week before Ochoa-Lopez disappeared, the two friends got together and ate tostadas. Ramos did Ochoa-Lopez’s makeup for what would be the last time. Ochoa-Lopez closed her eyes and posed for a photo as she showed off the bright pink and yellow eye shadow adorned with an arch of glitter.

“We were talking about her baby and how excited we were,” Ramos said.

Rooney thought of Ochoa-Lopez as a daughter or niece. She met the teen while working as a social worker at the girl’s school. The teen asked for help because her family didn’t have furniture. Rooney helped the family get a voucher for Goodwill to buy furniture.

For years, Rooney held on to a graduation photo Ochoa-Lopez had given her at the end of eighth grade. The photo was inscribed with the message, “Thank you for helping me.”

They reconnected through Facebook, where Ochoa-Lopez would turn to Rooney for guidance. Rooney said Ochoa-Lopez took on a mothering role for her siblings and friends. One time, Ochoa-Lopez asked Rooney for help because a friend wanted to get out of a turbulent relationship. Another time, she needed help figuring out how to continue her education as a young mother.

Funeral services set for slain pregnant teen Marlen Ochoa-Lopez

Funeral services set for slain pregnant teen Marlen Ochoa-Lopez May 19-- CHICAGO — Visitation and funeral arrangements have been set for Marlen Ochoa-Lopez, the 19-year-old Chicago woman lured to a home and murdered. Her son was cut from her womb. He is now on life support in grave condition with no brain activity. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.getMedianetNativeAds(true); }); Public visitation is set for 3 to 9 p.m. May 23 and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. May 24 at Mount Auburn Funeral Home at 4101 S. Oak Park Ave. in Stickney, Ill. Ochoa-Lopez's funeral will be held at 9 a.m.

“She just needed some support,” Rooney said. “I just wanted to be there for her. She was a tough girl.”

Rooney started picking up brochures at resource fairs for programs aimed at young mothers. Ochoa-Lopez’s family said the teen had aspirations of going into the fashion industry or becoming a singer. But one of her immediate goals was to finish high school.

“She wanted to make her life better for her child,” Rooney said. “Otherwise, she would have never come to me and said can you help me. That’s what I believe.”

The memorial for the teen mother kept growing into the night. Lucia Marquez brought a small outdoor table from her home. So many flowers had been dropped off and Marquez didn’t want the teen’s photo to become obscured.

“So it can be seen,” Marquez said in Spanish.

She and other women placed the teen’s framed photo on the table, and then adorned it with flowers and candles.

Marquez has lived in the neighborhood for about six years, and she immediately recognized the Ochoa-Lopez family after watching the television news. Marquez’s husband once worked with one of Ochoa-Lopez’s relative.

She remembers Ochoa-Lopez as a happy and nice 14-year-old girl. But Marquez had lost touch with the family and hadn’t seen Ochoa-Lopez in years.

“It’s very sad,” Marquez said in Spanish. “Even if you don’t know her, it’s horrible what they did to her.”

She took comfort in praying at the memorial with other women. Still, she can’t shake one question.

Marquez can see the home where Ochoa-Lopez was killed from her window, and she walks by the house regularly to catch a nearby bus. “Why didn’t I hear anything?” Marquez said in Spanish. “It’s what stays in your conscience.”

emalagon@chicagotribune.com

jvillagomez@chicagotribune.com

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Mourning Marlen Ochoa-Lopez: 'This is all very hard. It feels like it will never end.'.
Mourners lined up at a south suburban funeral home Thursday afternoon to pay their last respects to Marlen Ochoa-Lopez, a young expectant mother who was strangled and her baby cut from her. 

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