Womb raiders ‘strangled pregnant teen and cut unborn baby from her body’

Looking visibly distressed, Clarisa Figueroa bends over “her” tiny baby as he fights for life.

So fragile is the newborn, staff at Chicago’s Advocate Christ Medical Center gave the 46-year-old her own room in the labour and maternity ward, so she was on hand when needed.

But behind the show of concern, Figueroa was said to hide an evil secret.

Not only was she not Yovani’s mother, she had allegedly strangled the tot’s real mum before cutting him from her womb, planning to raise him as her own.

Figueroa has now been charged with first-degree murder in the latest horrific womb raider case to shock America.

Her daughter, Desiree, 24, has been charged with helping Clarisa carry out the killing with a TV cable.

Prosecutors say after killing Marlen Ochoa-Lopez, 19, last month, Clarisa called 911 to report she had given birth and the tot was not breathing.

Figueroa is said to have pretended for months she was pregnant, even though she had had her fallopian tubes tied.

Facebook posts showed she was decorating a nursery and seeking out expectant mothers on the site.

She shared a photo of a decorated cot and letters spelling out “Xander”, the tot’s intended name. He was to be called after Figuero’s adult son who died of natural causes in 2017.

“Baby Xander’s crib is set up now we’re just waiting for your arrival,” she wrote in a caption.

She then allegedly sought out her victim on a Facebook group.

On April 22 unsuspecting Marlen had posted: “Is anyone selling, trading or just simply donating a Double Stroller your babies don’t use any more?

“I just really need one for my baby soon to be born and my 2 year old. It’ll be such a help.”

It ended: “Near South Side around Gage park. I can pick up.”

Investigators say Figueroa replied, offering to give Marlen baby clothes and a pram for her new arrival. She already had one son, Joshua, with her husband.

The mum and daughter team lured Marlen to their home on April 23.

Once inside, police say the teenager was led to the basement, where she was strangled with a coaxial cable.

Chicago police chief Eddie Johnson called the crime “disgusting”.

He added: “I can’t even imagine what that family is going through. They should be celebrating the birth of a baby. Instead, they’re mourning the loss of the mother and possibly that young child.”

Deputy chief Brendan Deenihan said: “Apparently, Miss Ochoa had bought other baby items from Clarisa, so they knew each other.”

Within four hours of when the mum-to-be was last seen driving by surveillance cameras, Figueroa had called emergency services claiming she had had a baby that was not breathing.

She arrived at the hospital by ambulance, covered in blood with the baby who was in a serious condition.

On May 7, police who had been looking for Marlen were given a tip by her friends about her relationship with the Figueroa family.

They went to the house, spoke to Desiree and later found Marlen’s car nearby.

Three weeks after she went missing Marlen’s remains were discovered in a rubbish bin at the home. DNA revealed the true identity of the boy’s mother.

Meanwhile, Figueroa and her boyfriend Piotr Bobak, 40, since charged with concealing the murder, were seemingly trying to make money out of their sickening crime.

They created a GoFundMe page for baby Xander as he lay in hospital.

On it Clarisa wrote: “I am reaching out today on behalf of a precious little angel… Xander Xavier Bobak.

“The neonatal intensive care unit at Christ Hospital is a special place I hope none of you ever need to be part of.

“On April 23 Clarisa Figueroa, ­pregnant at 36 weeks, found herself terrified as she began to experience abnormal labour pains alone in her house. Within moments she gave birth to son Xander at 7lbs.

“Xander, his mother Clarisa and his father Piotr Bobak have found themselves staying at Christ hospital desperately hoping Xander will pull through.

“They are preparing to say goodbye to their baby as they have to accept that Xander won’t survive much longer. We set up this fund to help Clarisa and Piotr pay for a proper burial.”

There have been 25 cases worldwide of so-called fetal abduction, which is kidnapping a child from a pregnant woman through a crude caesarean section.

It is also know as womb raiding.

Four mothers and 13 babies have survived the shocking crime.

Predominately committed in the US, it is almost always done by women.

The first recorded case was in Philadelphia in November 1974.

Winifred Ransom, 36, hacked and shot to death pregnant Margaret Sweeney. Ransom was acquitted on the grounds of insanity.

Three cases have been reported outside America with two carried out within six months of each other in South Africa in 2013.

Today, the baby boy remains in hospital hooked up to tubes. He has since been cradled in the arms of his father, Yovany Lopez, after whom he has
been named Yovani Yadiel. But doctors fear it may not be just his wife he will be grieving for.

Doctors say the boy is brain dead, although the family have hope.

Marlen’s devastated father, Arnulfo Ochoa, said: “When we touch him, he reacts. The baby is getting better. My faith in God keeps me going.

“We want him to know we love him. He is a miracle of God.”

Arnulfo spoke out as the medical centre caring for his grandson faces questions about why medics did not think it was suspicious when Clarisa arrived.

Detectives did not learn until May 7 of the link between Clarisa and Marlen when a friend of the teen told of their Facebook messages.

Today as Figueroa, her daughter and Bobak remain in jail, the relatives of Marlen will gather for her funeral.

Grieving Yovany said: “We’re gonna have justice with those responsible. They don’t know the pain they’ve caused. They don’t know.”

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