The hospital that treated the infant child who was ripped from his mother's womb after her grisly slaying in Chicago says bills sent to the infant's father were an "error."
Frank Avila, the attorney for the family of 19-year-old Marlen Ochoa, said Advocate Christ Medical Center sent medical bills totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars to Yovanny Lopez in wake of his child's death.
The hospital acknowledged Thursday that the bill was "inadvertently sent" and the hospital "regrets this error," but said it could not comment further due to patient privacy.
U.S. & World
"Our hearts and prayers continue to be with the Ochoa-Lopez family during this difficult time," the hospital said in a statement. "We have had discussions with the family regarding a bill that was inadvertently sent and we regret this error. We take our obligation to patient privacy seriously, and therefore are unable to comment further regarding care, services or billing."
The mother-daughter duo accused of killing Ochoa before cutting her unborn baby from her womb and claiming it as their own are now facing a new murder charge for the infant's death.
Desiree and Clarisa Figueroa have been charged with murder after the infant who was ripped from 19-year-old Marlen Ochoa's womb following her death died at a Chicago hospital last month, according to the Cook County State's Attorney's office.
Both were ordered held without bond on the new charge Thursday.
"We are grateful that charges have been placed on these murderers," said the father of the baby, Yovanny Lopez. "We understand that the evidence supports charging both mother and daughter in the death of my infant son who suffered so much from injuries inflicted upon him by these women. We have faith that the criminal justice system will prevail and justice will be served.”
Ochoa's infant child died weeks after his mother's murder. The baby's death was ruled a homicide by the Cook County Medical Examiner, who determined the child died from a lack of oxygen and blood to his brain and cited "maternal assault and demise."
The Figueroas, along with Clarisa Figueroa's boyfriend Piotr Bobak, had already pleaded not guilty in the death of Marlen Ochoa.
"Not only will the state not be able to prove him guilty, he’s innocent," said Bobak's lawyer Hal Garfinkel. "Mr. Bobak is innocent. Both of us look forward to his day in court."
Authorities contend that not long after Clarisa Figueroa's adult son died of natural causes, she told her family she was pregnant. They say she plotted for months to acquire a newborn, and that she posted an ultrasound and photos of a room decorated for a baby on her Facebook page. In March, she and Ochoa connected on a Facebook page for pregnant women.
Prosecutors alleged the mother-daughter pair lured Ochoa to their home, where they offered to give her clothes and other items for her unborn child. As Desiree Figueroa was showing Ochoa a photo album of her late brother to distract her, Clarisa Figueroa sneaked up behind her and strangled her with a cord before her baby was cut from her womb.
Later that day, Clarisa Figueroa called 911 claiming that her newborn baby was not breathing. When first responders arrived, the child was blue. They tried to resuscitate the infant and took him to Christ Medical Center, where he remained until his death.
Prosecutors said 46-year-old Clarisa Figueroa was examined in a birthing center at Advocate Christ Medical Center on April 23 after claiming to have given birth, "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. Figueroa was allegedly able to pass off the baby as her own for weeks.
An investigation from the Illinois Department of Public Health cleared the hospital in the case, but noted deficiencies in their process.