A pregnant woman who had gone to a Chicago home in response to a Facebook offer of free baby clothes was strangled and her baby cut from her womb, police and family members said. The newborn was in grave condition and not expected to survive.
Four people are being questioned and three have been arrested, police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi told CBS Chicago. One of the people in custody is considered a person of interest, the station reports.
Charges including murder to be filed Thursday afternoon, Guglielmi said.
The body of 19-year-old Marlen Ochoa-Uriostegui was found early Wednesday behind the house. on April 23, the same day paramedics were called to the home several miles away on the Southwest Side about a newborn with problems breathing.
“We believe that she was murdered, and we believe that the baby was forcibly removed following that murder,” Guglielmi said, calling it an “unspeakable act of violence.”
According to WLS-TV, a 911 dispatcher reported that a 46-year-old woman had called to say that she had given birth 10 minutes earlier and the baby was pale and blue and not breathing.
The family of Ochoa-Uriostegui, a married mother of a 3-year-old son, said a woman on Facebook had lured her to the home by offering a stroller and baby clothes. Cecelia Garcia, a spokeswoman for the family, said Ochoa-Uriostegui met the woman through a Facebook group called “Help A Sister Out.”
“She was giving clothes away, supposedly under the pretense that her daughters had been given clothes and they had all these extra boy clothes,” Garcia said.
A neighbor told CBS Chicago that on April 23 the woman living at the house ran outside holding a newborn and wearing a blood-smeared shirt, but she had no blood on her gray shorts. The neighbor said the woman told her, “I just had the baby, and it’s not breathing.”
A fire department spokesperson confirmed to CBS Chicago a baby in distress was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center by ambulance from the same address around 6 p.m. that day.
Garcia said police informed the family DNA tests confirmed Tuesday the baby is Ochoa-Uriostegui’s.
“It just seems surreal. You see this stuff on the movies,” Garcia told the station. “You never get to know someone, people actually are this evil.
Ochoa-Uriostegui’s family has been looking for her since her disappearance more than three weeks ago, organizing search parties and pushing police for updates on the investigation. As her May 5 due date passed, the family held a press conference, begging for anyone with information to come forward.
Ochoa-Uriostegui’s mother said her daughter seemed normal before her disappearance and was already starting to have mild contractions. Speaking in Spanish, she said she doubted her daughter would have left her young son, and said she feared she may have been abducted.
Speaking Thursday, her husband, Yiovanni Lopez, visited his son at the hospital and named him Yadiel, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
“Why did these people, why did these bad people, do this? She did nothing to them,” Lopez told WLS. “She was a good person.”