Crime: Flowers, chocolates, a kite with bright yellow stars: Friends remember Marlen Ochoa-Lopez, ‘a tough girl’ - PressFrom - US
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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.

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.

Prosecutor: Pregnant teen killed while being shown photos

Prosecutor: Pregnant teen killed while being shown photos A prosecutor says a pregnant Chicago teen who was killed and whose baby was cut from her womb was strangled while being shown a photo album of the late son and brother of her attackers. The prosecutor told Cook County Judge Susana Ortiz on Friday that 19-year-old Marlen Ochoa-Lopez managed to get her fingers under the cord around her neck and that the woman strangling her, 46-year-old Clarisa Figueroa, then yelled at her daughter, "You're not doing your f---ing job!" The prosecutor says the daughter, 24-year-old Desiree Figueroa, then pried Ochoa-Lopez's fingers from the cord while her mother continued to strangle the teen.

“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. 

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 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.

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.

Illinois authorities not alerted to early clues in slaying of Marlen Ochoa-Lopez

Illinois authorities not alerted to early clues in slaying of Marlen Ochoa-Lopez Police and Illinois' child welfare agency say staff at a Chicago-area hospital didn't alert them after determining that a bloodied woman who arrived with a gravely ill newborn had not just given birth to the baby boy, as she claimed. The woman, Clarisa Figueroa, was charged more than three weeks later with killing the baby's mother, Marlen Ochoa-Lopez, after police found her body outside Figueoa's home. Chicago police say she cut Ochoa-Lopez's baby out of her womb on April 23, then called 911 to report she had given birth to a baby who wasn't breathing.

“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.”

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Murdered pregnant teen Marlen Ochoa-Lopez buried.
As her family laid to rest the teen who was nine months pregnant and killed for her unborn child on Saturday, supporters announced plans to lobby for a new bill.

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