Cook County

Missing Pregnant Teen's Baby Found, Family Spokeswoman Says

Marlen Ochoa, 19, was last seen leaving the Latino Youth High School in the Little Village neighborhood on April 23

A spokeswoman for the family of Marlen Ochoa said the missing teen's baby has been found and that the family remains "hopeful but prepared for the worst" as Chicago police continue to investigate the 19-year-old's disappearance.

Cecilia Varga, who has been in close contact with Ochoa's family, said Wednesday that a newborn was found and positively identified as Ochoa's child.

"It's a blessing that we found Yadiel, the baby, that's the name of the baby that Marlen had chosen," Varga said at a news conference Wednesday, adding that the family was "very hopeful but also preparing for the worst. We still are missing a mom who we know gave birth on the 23rd of April, the day that she went missing."

A spokesman for the Chicago Fire Department said that at around 6 p.m. on Apr. 23, paramedics responded to a call of a baby in distress in the 4100 block of West 77th Street in the Ashburn neighborhood on the city's Southwest Side. CFD said paramedics treated the newborn at the scene before taking the baby to Advocate Christ Medical Center in critical condition.

A May 9 press release announcing a search party for Ochoa in the Ashburn neighborhood said that Ochoa's car was found in that area, though Chicago police did not immediately confirm that information, nor that the child taken to the hospital on Apr. 23 was Ochoa's.

Varga said that investigators performed a DNA test on the baby at Christ Hospital and determined that it was Ochoa's, though police again could not confirm that information.

The Cook County medical examiner's office said Wednesday that remains were found in that same area and that an autopsy was pending. The remains were unidentified as of Wednesday morning. A spokeswoman for the medical examiner's office declined to give further information on the remains, including the age or gender.

Varga said she and Ochoa's family were planning to go to the medical examiner's office Wednesday afternoon and they were "prepared for the worst," more than three weeks after Ochoa disappeared.

Ochoa, who has also been referred to as Marlen Lopez and Marlen Ochoa-Uriostegui, was last seen leaving the Latino Youth High School in the Little Village neighborhood, where she had been taking classes, on April 23.

She was supposed to pick up her 3-year-old son from daycare that afternoon but her family said she never showed up. Ochoa was nine months pregnant with her second child when she was reported missing.

Garcia said family members believe Ochoa was lured to a home on the same block where her car was found. They said Ochoa had been communicating with someone in a Facebook group called "Help a Sista Out" and was planning to pick up items for her new baby. 

Other women in the group sent messages to Ochoa's family showing screenshots of the conversation, which have been obtained by NBC 5. The group appears to have since been shut down on Facebook. 

Chicago police issued a high-risk missing persons alert for Ochoa on April 27. A CPD spokesman said Tuesday night that police were "conducting interviews of individuals" in connection with the ongoing missing persons investigation, but declined to offer any further information.

Ochoa was described as an Hispanic woman, standing at 5'3" and weighing around 125 pounds. She has brown hair and brown eyes, as well as a distinctive nose ring, according to the alert issued by police.

She was last seen wearing a gray sweater and sweatpants with a maroon top bearing the Latino Youth High School logo, officials said. Ochoa may be driving a black Honda Civic, license plate number AW27865, according to police.

Anyone with information on Ochoa or her whereabouts was asked to call 911 or CPD's Special Victim's Unit at (312) 747-8274.

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