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Body of missing pregnant teen found strangled behind Southwest Side home; baby had been cut from womb, police say

Katherine Rosenberg-Douglas, Rosemary Sobol, Jessica Villagomez and Jeremy Gorner, Chicago Tribune on

Published in News & Features

CHICAGO -- The body of a 19-year-old pregnant woman reported missing last month was found behind a home on Chicago's Southwest Side, strangled, hours after several people at the home were taken into custody, according to authorities.

The baby was cut out of the woman's body after she was slain and remains in "grave" condition, according to the Chicago Police Department's chief spokesman, Anthony Guglielmi.

"We believe that she was murdered and we believe that the baby (was) forcibly removed following that murder," Guglielmi said.

The grim discovery brought to an end the search for Marlen Ochoa-Lopez, who family said was last seen leaving her high school April 23. She was nine months pregnant when she disappeared, and family members said she had gone to the home in the 4100 block of West 77th Place to swap baby clothes with a woman she met through a Facebook group.

The teen's family said they've been told by police that the baby was on life support at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn with no brain function. This could not be confirmed with police, but fire officials confirmed paramedics answered a call for a newborn in distress at the 77th Place address on the day Ochoa-Lopez disappeared.

Police have also said that several people were being interviewed, but Guglielmi wouldn't specify anyone's role in the killing.


"We believe all of them played some role in this unspeakable act of violence," Guglielmi said, "and detectives are now interrogating (those) individuals."

No charges have been announced.

Ochoa-Lopez, married with a 3-year-old son, was last seen leaving Latino Youth High School in Pilsen on April 23 to pick up the boy from Teddy Bear Day Care at 51st Street and Pulaski Avenue, according to police. She lived in the 6000 block of South Honore Street.

The family had been making public pleas to locate her since she disappeared, at one point asking police to check the identity of a newborn brought to a Chicago fire station shortly after birth. The baby, however, was not Ochoa-Lopez's.


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