Weeping husband of pregnant teen 'murdered by "womb raider" family' carries coffin as hundreds attend funeral
THE weeping husband of a pregnant teen allegedly murdered by a warped family of "womb raiders" who ripped out her unborn baby carried her coffin at her funeral yesterday.
Hundreds attended the emotional ceremony for Marlen Ochoa-Lopez, who was strangled on April 23 after going to a house in Chicago to collect free baby clothes.
The 19-year-old was found dead in a bin behind the property three weeks later on May 15.
Her unborn baby son had been cut from her womb and taken in a critically ill condition to hospital – where Marlen's alleged killer supposedly tried to pass off the infant as her own.
On Saturday, Marlen's grieving husband Yovany carried his wife's coffin as the tragic couple's wider family travelled from Mexico to attend the touching ceremony.
She was laid to rest at the Mount Auburn Funeral Home in Stickney, Illinois, while her tearful relatives spoke about their grief.
This is all very hard. It feels like it will never end
Many wore t-shirts with a picture of Marlen on the front – while a photo of the teen on her wedding day was placed in front of her casket.
Prayers cards were also handed out that read: "Todo lo puedo en Cristo que me fortalece," meaning, "I can do anything with Christ's strength."
Marlen's heartbroken uncle Jesus Maldonado said his pain "will never end" – while other family gathered to pay their respects.
Mr Maldonado told The Chicago Tribune: This is all very hard. It feels like it will never end."
Family friend Maria Martinez added: "There are people that don't know her, but it hurts us all. How can people be so bad?"
The service came after high school student Marlen's grandparents arrived in Chicago this week to be introduced to her tragic son.
Little Yavani remains in the intensive care unit at the Advocate Christ Medical Center – where his mum's alleged killers took him on April 23 after cutting him from her womb, cops say.
The hospital faces being stripped of its license after it emerged staff failed to alert authorities even after they realised that Figueroa was not the boy's true mother.
Figueroa claimed that she suddenly gave birth to the unresponsive baby – who she named Xander – at home on the day Marlen vanished.
The teen victim's family are lobbying local politicians to pass a bill dubbed "Marlen's Law" that would bring in mandatory checks for women who arrive at hospitals with babies.
'KILLERS' AWAITING TRIAL
Clarisa Figueroa, 46, her daughter Desiree, 24, and Clarisa's boyfriend Piotr Bobak, 40, are in custody awaiting trial on suspicion of murder and concealing a corpse.
High school student Marlen was strangled after going to the Figueroa's house to collect free baby clothes, police say.
Her killers then butchered the young mother – removing the baby from her womb before pretending the newborn was their own.
A DNA test on the suspects later revealed the little boy was of no relation to them.
Prosecutors last week shared harrowing details of what detectives believe took place on the day Marlen died.
They also told how the nine-month pregnant teenager was killed on her second trip to the Figueroa's house.
Clarisa Figueroa told her daughter Desiree in October last year that she was pregnant despite having had her Fallopian tubes tied, authorities claimed in a bond proffer last week.
And Clarisa told her daughter – who allegedly made a full confession to police – that she "needed help killing a pregnant woman and taking a baby", according to prosecutors.
Clarisa's posts on social media allegedly showed she was obsessed with babies and had been telling friends she was pregnant with a boy she planned to call Xander.
COLLECTING BABY CLOTHES
Marlen first visited the Figueroa's home on April 1 to collected baby clothes after Clarisa offered them for free on a page for new mums.
It was then that Clarisa allegedly told her daughter she wanted to kill Marlen and steal her baby.
But Marlen escaped without knowing of the murderous plot after Desiree's boyfriend Piotr Bobak, 40, refused to take part, according to detectives.
Marlen then returned on April 23, when Bobak was away, and Clarisa and Desiree carried out the harrowing murder, cops say.
Desiree distracted Marlen with a photo album before mum Clarisa crept up behind her victim and strangled her with an electric cable, according to authorities.
It was then that Clarisa used a butcher knife and bucket to cut open her victim's womb and remove the baby and placenta, cops say.
Clarisa dialled 911 claiming she herself had just given birth and her baby was unresponsive.
Paramedics rushed her to hospital without seeing Marlen's body in the home, authorities claim.
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