On what would have been her 20th birthday, Marlen Ochoa’s memory is being honored by family and friends with a balloon release and ceremony in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood.
Pastor Julie Contreras will be joined by Ochoa’s family and friends in Pilsen on Saturday afternoon, and in front of a mural designed to commemorate Ochoa’s life, the gathered mourners will release red balloons to honor her memory.
Ochoa’s mother Raquel, via a text message sent to NBC 5 and Telemundo Chicago’s Jorge DeSantiago, said that the family is still in “great pain” over her daughter’s death.
“It’s very difficult to get used to her absence,” she said. “The whole family is (dealing with) sadness and is without comfort.”
Ochoa was killed in late April after she allegedly used a Facebook group page to meet up with a woman to get clothing and other items for her unborn baby. That woman allegedly killed Ochoa and took her baby from her womb, and the child ultimately passed away several weeks later.
Two women, Desiree and Clarisa Figeuroa, have been indicted on murder charges in the case, and are both being held without bond in the case. The next court hearing in the case is scheduled for Nov. 19.
The women have pleaded not guilty in the case. Clarisa Figueroa’s boyfriend Piotr Bobak is charged with helping to conceal Ochoa’s death, and has also pleaded not guilty.