Warning: Details of this story are disturbing and may be difficult to read.
The suspects charged with strangling a pregnant Chicago teenager to death, then cutting her baby from her womb, were ordered held without bond in court Friday.
Clarisa Figueroa, 46, and her daughter Desiree Figueroa, 24, were ordered held without bond Friday, a judge ruled, citing significant premeditation and planning involved in the slaying of 19-year-old Marlen Ochoa.
Clarisa Figuero's boyfriend, 40-year-old Piotr Boback was also ordered held without bond, with the judge saying he "willfully assisted the concealment of a crime" and "tried to destroy forensic evidence."
The mother and daughter are accused of strangling Ochoa to death with a coaxial cable and cutting her baby from her womb, a somber Chicago police Supt. Eddie Johnson revealed while addressing reporters Thursday.
"Words cannot really describe how disgusting, and thoroughly disturbing, these allegations are," he said. “I would like to offer my sincere condolences and prayers to Marlen’s family, who instead of celebrating the arrival of a new life into their family, are now mourning Marlen’s loss, while at the same time caring for a new little baby that’s in grave condition.”
Figueroa and her daughter were each charged with one felony count of first-degree murder Thursday in connection with the teen's death, according to police.
They were also both charged with one felony count of aggravated battery to a child under 13 resulting in a permanent disability, authorities said, in connection with the harm caused to Ochoa's baby.
Bobak was charged with concealing a homicidal death and concealing the death of a person, both felonies, police said.
Johnson said that on May 7, detectives received a break in the missing person investigation and learned that Ochoa, who was last seen on Apr. 23, "was in communication with one of the offenders" before she disappeared.
Deputy Chief Brendan Deenihan said one of Ochoa's friends told police that Ochoa was part of a "chat site" on Facebook, and detectives went into the group to find that Ochoa had arranged to go to Clarisa Figueroa's house to pick up baby items the day she went missing.
That led officers to the Figueroa home in the Scottsdale neighborhood on the Southwest Side, according to police, who said that detectives knocked on the door and spoke with Desiree Figueroa.
The investigators spoke at length with Desiree Figueroa, according to Deenihan, who said she told them that her mother was at the hospital, initially saying Clarisa Figueroa had "some issues with her legs" but then eventually claiming that her mother had recently delivered a baby.
"At this point the detectives obviously are understanding what's going on here," Deenihan said, adding that police then searched the area and found Ochoa's vehicle parked near the Figueroa home.
Deenihan said officers also went to the hospital that same day, on May 7, and interviewed Clarisa Figueroa, who denied that Ochoa came to her house on Apr. 23 but admitted to "knowing Marlen and meeting her in the past."
Over the next few days, Deenihan said detectives subpoenaed hospital records and retrieved DNA evidence from the baby, Clarisa Figueroa and Ochoa's husband Yovany Lopez, determining she was not the mother and Lopez was the father.
That gave CPD enough evidence to execute a search warrant at the Figueroa's Southwest Side home on Wednesday, authorities said.
"There's bleach, and cleaning solutions were discovered at that time, and the four individuals who were at that house were brought into Area South for interviews," Deenihan said Thursday.
"Later on that evening, while detectives are doing their search, they find a garbage can on the premise, it's kind of in a hidden area on the premise, and unfortunately that's when they discover the remains of Marlen," he continued, adding that investigators also found a device used to strangle Ochoa, as well as remnants of burnt clothes and traces of blood in several places throughout the house.
The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office identified the body found as Ochoa's the following morning, determining her cause of death as ligature strangulation and ruling the death a homicide.
Deenihan said that during an interrogation at 1:30 a.m. Thursday, Desiree Figueroa confessed "that she assisted her mother strangling Marlen," and she and her mother, as well as Bobak were charged later that day.
CPD spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said Wednesday that Ochoa's baby remained hospitalized in "grave" condition.
"It's a blessing that we found Yadiel, the baby, that's the name of the baby that Marlen had chosen," family spokeswoman Cecilia Garcia said at a news conference Wednesday.
Ochoa's family stood by a family spokeswoman Thursday morning ahead of the suspects' bond hearing, issuing a call to the judge to deny bond to the three people charged.
"Today is a sad day. Today is a day of anguish that this family is living through. A nightmare, a horror film. Today there is only one message that the family has and that is justice for Marlen," said Julie Contreras, with the League of United Latin American Citizens.
"We are requesting that the Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx and members of her office give no bond to these individuals, monsters, murderers – if this institution here in the county of Cook represents the rule of law in giving them no bond not only helps this family, it helps the public security of the city of Chicago, the nation, and probably the world."