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Two Chicago women accused of ripping a baby out of a pregnant teen’s womb pleaded not guilty to the baby’s murder in court Monday.
Yovanny Jadiel Lopez died in a hospital just weeks after prosecutors believe Clarisa Figueroa, 46, and her daughter Desiree, 24, lured 19-year-old Marlen Ochoa-Lopez to their Chicago home in April with the promise of free baby clothes. Prosecutors say the pair strangled Ochao-Lopez, ripped the baby from her womb, and then tried to pass the baby off as the son of Clarisa Figueroa, local station WLS-TV reports.
The pair entered not guilty pleas to Ochoa-Lopez’s death in June.
After the baby was cut from Ochoa-Lopez's body, Clarisa allegedly called 911 to report that she had given birth to a baby but that he was not breathing. She and the baby were both taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center. Although there were no signs that Clarisa had given birth herself, the authorities weren't notified, sparking criticism of the hospital in the months after the baby’s true identity was discovered.
State officials later cleared the hospital of any wrongdoing in the incident in June, according to an earlier report from WLS-TV.
Authorities were eventually able to determine the baby belonged to Ochoa-Lopez, who they were searching for as a missing person, through DNA testing, Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said in May.
“Words really cannot express how disgusting and thoroughly disturbing these allegations are,” he said.
Ochoa-Lopez’s body was later discovered in a trash can behind Figueroa’s home, authorities say.
The infant boy’s family was reunited with him after authorities made the link to Ochoa-Lopez in May. He died in the hospital June 14 after suffering “severe brain injuries” from his traumatic birth, according to a statement from family spokesperson Julie Contreras.
Desiree’s boyfriend, Piotr Bobak, has also been charged with concealing a homicide.
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