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Mother and daughter accused of killing woman, cutting baby from her womb – National

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Mother and daughter accused of killing woman cutting baby from her womb National

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WARNING: This story contains graphic details that readers may find disturbing. Discretion is advised.

CHICAGO — A pregnant Chicago teen who was killed and whose baby was cut from her womb was strangled while being shown a photo album of the late son and brother of her attackers, a prosecutor said Friday in urging a judge to keep the defendants locked up.

Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy told Cook County Judge Susana Ortiz that 19-year-old Marlen Ochoa-Lopez managed to get her fingers under the cord around her neck. The woman accused of strangling her, Clarisa Figueroa, then yelled at her daughter, “You’re not doing your f—ing job!”


READ MORE:
Chicago woman killed, baby cut from womb in ‘unspeakable act of violence’

The daughter, 24-year-old Desiree Figueroa, then allegedly pried Ochoa-Lopez’s fingers from the cord “one by one” while her mother continued to strangle the teen for another five minutes, Murphy said. With Ochoa-Lopez showing no signs of life, Clarisa Figueroa, 46, cut her open with a butcher’s knife and removed the placenta and baby, which she put in a bucket, he alleged.

The two then put the teen’s body in a garbage can and Clarisa Figueroa called 911, claiming that her newborn baby was not breathing, authorities said.

When first responders arrived, the child was blue. They tried to resuscitate the infant and transported Clarisa Figueroa and the boy to a nearby hospital, where police said he remained in grave condition and was not expected to survive. Figueroa, meanwhile, had blood on her upper body but no physical sign that she’d given birth, according to investigators.

This combination of booking photos provided by the Chicago Police Department on Thursday, May 16, 2019 shows from left, Pioter Bobak, 40; Clarisa Figueroa, 46; and Desiree Figueroa, 24. (Chicago Police Department via AP)

(Chicago Police Department via AP)

The judge denied bond to the Figueroas, who are charged with murder, saying she felt “the presumption is great” that they committed a “heinous and brutal murder” and that they pose “a real and present” danger to the community. She also denied bond to Clarisa Figueroa’s boyfriend, 40-year-old Piotr Bobak, who is charged with the concealment of a homicide.

The mother’s lawyer asked Ortiz to place the Figueroas in protective custody for their safety, given “the nature of the case.” The Figueroas stood calmly during the hearing. As they left, the mother glanced back at the crowded gallery, where the victim’s friends and relatives packed the spectator benches.

Clarisa Figueroa apparently wanted to raise another child after her adult son died of natural causes, authorities said. She told her family last October that she was pregnant and later posted on Facebook ultrasound results and photos of a room decorated for a baby, prosecutors wrote in a court filing. He said Desiree Figueroa was surprised because her mother had had her fallopian tubes tied to prevent pregnancy.

WATCH: Chicago PD investigating after pregnant woman slain, baby cut from her womb





The arrests came three weeks after the disappearance of Ochoa-Lopez, whose decaying body was discovered this week in a garbage can in the backyard of Figueroa’s home on the city’s Southwest Side, about 4 miles from Ochoa-Lopez’s own home. The cord used to strangle her was still around her neck.

According to police, the young woman had driven from her high school to Figueroa’s home in response to an offer of free clothes that Figueroa had posted on Facebook.

Police did not connect the Ochoa-Lopez’s disappearance and the 911 call about the baby until May 7, when friends of the teen directed detectives to her social media account, which showed she had communicated with Clarisa Figueroa in a Facebook group for expectant mothers.

At the same time, Clarisa Figueroa had started a GoFundMe campaign for the funeral of what she said was her dying baby, said Sara Walker, a spokeswoman for Ochoa-Lopez’s family. Police then conducted DNA tests, which showed that Ochoa-Lopez and her husband, Yiovanni Lopez, were actually his parents, Walker said.

Arnulfo Ochoa, the father of Marlen Ochoa-Lopez, is surrounded by family members and supporters, as he walks into the Cook County medical examiner’s office to identify his daughter’s body, Thursday, May 16, 2019 in Chicago. (Ashlee Rezin/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)

(Ashlee Rezin/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)

When police arrived to question Clarisa Figueroa, her daughter told them that her mother was in the hospital with some kind of leg injury, before adding that she had just delivered a baby, Brendan Deenihan, deputy chief of detectives, said Thursday.

“She told an extremely odd story,” and officers “kind of knew where this is headed,” Deenihan said.

READ MORE: 6 people, including 2 children, shot and wounded at Chicago baby shower

Police then searched the neighbourhood and found Ochoa-Lopez’s car a few blocks away. On Tuesday they returned with a search warrant, finding cleaning supplies as well as evidence of blood in the hallway and in the bathroom. They later found the body in a trash can behind the house and recovered surveillance video that showed Ochoa-Lopez’s vehicle driving through the neighbourhood on the day they believed she was killed, authorities said.

Ochoa-Lopez’s family had been looking for her since her disappearance on April 23, organizing search parties and holding news conferences as they pushed police for updates in the investigation.

Her father, Arnulfo Ochoa, said Thursday that relatives were grateful to have found her and now want justice. The family was also bracing for the baby’s death, while still hoping for a miracle.

This undated Chicago Police missing person flier shows Marlen Ochoa-Lopez. Ochoa-Lopez, who had gone to a Chicago home in response to a Facebook offer of free baby clothes, was strangled and her baby cut from her womb, police and family members said. (Chicago Police/Chicago Tribune via AP)

(Chicago Police/Chicago Tribune via AP)

“We plead to God that he gives us our child because that is a blessing that my wife left for us,” Yiovanni Lopez told reporters Thursday through a Spanish interpreter outside the county morgue where his wife’s body was taken.

Ochoa-Lopez’s mother, Raquel Uriostegui, said her daughter was born in Mexico and came to the United States when she was 2 years old.

“My daughter was a very joyful girl. She had a lot of dreams. She found humor in everything. And I know now she is at peace wherever she is. She’s not suffering anymore,” Uriostegui said.

Ochoa-Lopez’s husband, Yiovanni Lopez, called her “such a good, happy person.”

“She didn’t deserve it because she was a smart woman, a good student. She wanted to do great things like all of us,” he said.

Associated Press writer Sara Burnett and videojournalist Noreen Nasir contributed to this report.



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FOREIGN NEWS

Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali

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Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali

Contrary to the expectations of the people, the leadership of the Episcopal Conference of Mali (CEM) has termed the Tuesday, August 18 military coup in the West African nation as “regrettable” and “a big failure for our democracy” and called for a change of mentality if the country has to put an end to coups.

In an interview with ACI Africa Wednesday, August 19, made available to RECOWACERAO NEWS AGENCY, RECONA, the President of CEM, Bishop Jonas Dembélé said that the governance challenges the country is facing can be managed through dialogue.

“The military coup that led to the ousting of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta is regrettable because we are in a state of law and democracy. This is the second time that Mali has had a military coup as a result of the way in which the country is governed. It is a big failure for our democracy even if there were reasons for it,” Bishop Dembélé told ACI Africa.

“It is true that our country has serious challenges including bad governance, the poor management of the economy, corruption, insecurity and so on,” Bishop Dembélé said and probed, “Why is it that we Malians have not managed to engage in dialogue to be able to discuss these problems and face up to these challenges responsibly?”

“Our leaders, our people lack transparency, they hate those who speak the truth and advocate for good governance. This mentality must change for our country to move on,” the Prelate told ACI Africa August 19.

Bishop Dembélé who is a frontline member of RECOWA-CERAO urged the military officials “to ensure a return to democracy as promised but most especially ensuring the new leadership of the country put the people first and tackle the security challenges facing the nation.”

Asked about the role of the Church in the current crisis, the 57-year-old Prelate noted, “For us the Catholic Church in Mali, our role is to preach peace; our role is to preach dialogue. We shall continue in this path of dialogue for peace just like Cardinal Jean Zerbo and some religious leaders initiated.”

“In a state of law, power is not in the hands of certain individuals but to the people. The anger of our people led to this crisis, but we must work for peace and reconciliation in Mali,” Bishop Dembélé said.

He continued in recollections, “The Bishops in Mali have always issued messages before every election in our country sounding the alert and inviting the government to organize transparent elections, ensure good governance and better management of resources.”
“But it seems our messages are never taken into consideration that is why we find ourselves in this situation today,” the Local Ordinary of Kayes Diocese told ACI Africa and added, “If the opinion of the Episcopal Conference of Mali is needed to mediate in bringing back stability and peace in the country, then we are ready.”

As a way forward, the Bishop urged the people of God in Mali to “seek the path to conversion” and to accept dialogue in the spirit of truth and honesty.
“We all want change in our

country, but this change can only be possible if individually we seek the path to conversion. It is for Malians be they Muslims or Christians or members of traditional religion, to do an examination of conscience and accept personal and community conversion in order to engage in sincere dialogue,” he said.

The Malian Prelate added, “Now there is this coup d’état to demand change we really wonder where change should come from. As long as we don’t change our behavior, our mentality, we will always have a repeat of the current situation.”

On Tuesday, August 18, President Keita announced his resignation and dissolved parliament hours after mutinying soldiers detained him at gunpoint, Aljazeera reported.
“For seven years, I have with great joy and happiness tried to put this country on its feet. If today some people from the armed forces have decided to end it by their intervention, do I have a choice? I should submit to it because I do not want any blood to be shed,” President Keita said August 18 during the televised address to the nation.

Rev. Fr. George Nwachukwu
RECOWACERAO NEWS AGENCY, RECONA

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Harris accepts VP nomination

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Harris accepts VP nomination

Senator Kamala Harris formally accepted the Democratic nomination for vice president on Wednesday following a scathing speech by former President Barack Obama, who said the fate of the nation” depends entirely on the outcome of this election.”

Both Mr. Obama and Harris stressed the importance of voting, with Harris saying “we’re all in this fight together.” Harris sounded an optimistic note by highlighting her personal history and the promise of America, saying she was “so inspired by a new generation.”

“Make no mistake, the road ahead will not be not easy,” she said. “We will stumble. We may fall short. But I pledge to you that we will act boldly and deal with our challenges honestly. We will speak truths. And we will act with the same faith in you that we ask you to place in us.” She called Mr. Trump a “predator” in a speech that came after Mr. Obama issued his most forceful rebuke of his successor to date, saying Mr. Trump “hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t.”

“This president and those in power — those who benefit from keeping things the way they are — they are counting on your cynicism,” Mr. Obama said. “They know they can’t win you over with their policies. So they’re hoping to make it as hard as possible for you to vote, and to convince you that your vote doesn’t matter.

That’s how they win. That’s how they get to keep making decisions that affect your life, and the lives of the people you love. That’s how the economy will keep getting skewed to the wealthy and well-connected, how our health systems will let more people fall through the cracks. That’s how a democracy withers, until it’s no democracy at all.”

Mr. Obama and Hillary Clinton, speaking earlier in the night, both said they had hoped Mr. Trump would rise to the occasion. But they both stressed what they called his failures while in office, with Mr. Obama saying Mr. Trump has shown “no interest in treating the presidency as anything but one more reality show that he can use to get the attention he craves.”

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Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself

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Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself

The Malian soldiers who forced President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to resign in a coup promised early Wednesday to organize new elections after their takeover was swiftly condemned by the international community.

In a statement carried overnight on state broadcaster ORTM, the mutinous soldiers who staged Tuesday’s military coup identified themselves as the National Committee for the Salvation of the People led by Colonel Major Ismael Wagué.

“With you, standing as one, we can restore this country to its former greatness,” Wagué said, announcing that borders were closed and that a curfew was going into effect from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m

The news of Keita’s departure was met with jubilation by anti-government demonstrators in the capital, Bamako, and alarm by former colonial ruler France and other allies and foreign nations.

The U.N. Security Council scheduled a closed meeting Wednesday August 19, 2020 afternoon to discuss the unfolding situation in Mali, where the U.N. has a 15,600-strong peacekeeping mission. Keita, who was democratically elected in a 2013 landslide and re-elected five years later, still had three years left in his term.

But his popularity had plummeted, and demonstrators began taking to the streets calling for his ouster in June.

West African regional bloc ECOWAS had sent mediators to try and negotiate a unity government but those talks fell apart when it became clear that the protesters would not accept less than Keita’s resignation.

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