Sheriff’s Office Questions Hospital’s Actions After Death of Marlen Ochoa - NBC Chicago

Sheriff’s Office Questions Hospital’s Actions After Death of Marlen Ochoa

The baby remained hospitalized on life support on Saturday, according to authorities

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Family Says Murdered Teen's Baby Opened Eyes for 1st Time

    A newborn child, who was cut from his mother's womb after she was murdered in Chicago last month, opened his eyes for the first time Sunday, a spokesperson for his family said. NBC 5's Kate Chappell reports. (Published Monday, May 20, 2019)

    The Cook County sheriff’s office is questioning if a hospital violated state law by not immediately reporting that a woman who claimed to be the mother of a newborn had not given birth.

    The woman, Clarisa Figueroa, and her daughter, Desiree, were later charged with strangling the baby’s mother, Marlen Ochoa, and cutting the newborn from her womb.

    At a bail hearing last week, prosecutors explained how the 46-year-old Figueroa was examined in a birthing center at Christ Medical Center on April 23 “but showed no signs consistent with a woman who had just delivered a baby.”

    A technician at the Oak Lawn hospital cleaned blood from Figueroa’s arms, face and hands, prosecutors said, but it was unclear if anyone verified that she had actually given birth.

    Family Sets Funeral Services for Marlen Ochoa

    Family Sets Funeral Services for Marlen Ochoa

    Funeral arrangements are set for the 19-year-old teenager who was brutally murdered in Chicago. NBC 5 has learned that Marlen Ochoa’s family will meet with the hospital where the baby remains on life support, to determine the next steps. Chris Hush reports. 

    (Published Saturday, May 18, 2019)

    Figueroa was allegedly able to pass off the baby as her own for weeks.

    It wasn’t until May 9 that a “mandated reporter” — someone required to report suspected neglect or abuse — notified the Department of Child and Family Services about the newborn, DCFS spokesman Jassen Strokosch said. The child was then taken into protective custody.

    After a DNA test proved that the baby was actually that of Ochoa's husband, the agency let the 48-hour protective custody lapse, and the baby was turned over to his father, Strokosch said.

    The sheriff’s office has asked the state DCFS why it was not notified sooner that Clarisa Figueroa claimed to have given birth but showed no signs of it.

    On Monday, the sheriff’s office said it will investigate the hospital if it finds the medical center violated the Abuse and Neglected Children Reporting Act.

    “We will consult with DCFS and if they determine the facts and circumstances of this tragedy were such that should have been reported by mandated reporters, we will ensure an investigation takes place,” sheriff’s office spokeswoman Cara Smith said in an email.

    Suspects Distracted Teen With Photos Before Death: Proffer

    [CHI] Suspects Distracted Teen With Photos Before Death: Proffer
    The mother-daughter duo accused of murdering a pregnant Chicago teen before cutting her baby out of her stomach distracted the woman with a photo album of their late son and brother before strangling her, prosecutors said Friday. Natalie Martinez reports.
    (Published Friday, May 17, 2019)

    In a statement, DCFS said it “will provide any support needed to the family in this case and to those handling any investigations into this matter.”

    There is currently no law or regulation to to ensure a baby belongs to the person presenting with the baby at a hospital.

    Hospital regulation falls under the purview of The Illinois Department of Public Health and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Strokosch said.

    Clarisa Figueroa and her daughter are being held without bail in the murder of 19-year-old Ochoa and cutting the baby out of her womb. The newborn is on life support and not expected to survive.

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