The family of a baby boy who died after being cut from his mother’s womb was billed more than $300,000 for his care—and the care of the woman now accused of killing him and his slain mom.
Marlen Ochoa-Lopez was killed April 23 after prosecutors say her baby was ripped from her womb by Clarisa Figueroa and her daughter Desiree, 26. The baby, Yovanny Lopez, later died in the hospital from injuries suffered from a loss of oxygen after his family made the heartbreaking decision to remove him from life support.
But the family’s attorney, Frank Avila, told The Chicago Sun Times that the family’s anguish has been made worse by a bill sent to the family by the Advocate Christ Medical Center that repeatedly referred to the baby as “Figueroa, boy,” the last name of his accused killer.
“What kind of monstrous people are these?” Avila said, adding that the hospital had intentionally inflicted “emotional distress” upon the family.
The baby was brought to the hospital April 23 by ambulance after Clarisa Figueroa called authorities when she discovered the baby was unresponsive. Initially, police said Figueroa claimed to be the mother of the child, despite no evidence that she had recently given birth.
Police investigating Ochoa-Lopez’s disappearance later collected DNA tests from Figueroa and the baby the first week in May—and she was arrested the following week after the tests revealed she was not the infant’s mother.
Once the baby’s true identity was discovered, the baby’s father, Yovani Lopez, was able to hold the baby and spend time with his son during the few weeks of his life.
But he was surprised to receive a series of bills from the hospital charging the family for the baby’s care and the care of Figueroa.
“Thank you for choosing Advocate Health Care,” one statement state. “Your balance is past due. Please pay the entire amount … to avoid being referred to an external collection agency.”
In a statement obtained by the local paper, the hospital said at least one of the bills had been inadvertently sent to the family.
“Our hearts and prayers continue to be with the Ochoa-Lopez family during this difficult time,” it said. “We have had discussions with the family regarding a bill that was inadvertently sent and we regret this error. We take our obligation to patient privacy seriously, and therefore are unable to comment further regarding care, services or billing.”
Although the mother-daughter pair initially were only facing first-degree murder charges for the death of Ochoa-Lopez, additional murder charges were announced Thursday for the death of the baby, Yovanny, according to local station WLS.
“We are grateful that charges have been placed on these murderers,” Yovani Lopez said in a statement after the new charges were announced. “There will never be a day that we are not grieving for my wife Marlen & my son Yovanny.”
Clarisa and Desiree Figueroa have both pleaded not guilty to the charges against them. Clarisa Figueroa’s public defender continued to maintain her client’s innocence in court last week.
“The presumption of guilt is not evident and the evidence does not show that my client is guilty,” she said.
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