Family of baby that was cut from slain mother's body still receiving bills for his carePosted: Updated:
A Chicago family can’t seem to wake from the nightmare they faced when a young mom was murdered in April and had her newborn -- who died about two months later -- cut from her stomach.
The alleged suspects – a mother-daughter pair – have been apprehended and now face two murder charges a piece, but the family of Marlen Ochoa-Lopez struggles to move on, not only as a result of the emotional horror of the situation but because what they described as further insults.
Ochoa-Lopez’s husband had now been sent in excess of $300,000 in hospital bills for the costs of caring for his newborn son after the alleged murderers brought him to a suburban hospital, passing the boy off as their own.
Not only that, but the bills don’t refer to the newborn using the name his family gave him – Yovanny Lopez, a tweaked version of his father’s name – and instead refer to him as Figueroa Boy, using the last name of the woman who allegedly killed his mother.
"His belief that his baby is in heaven with the baby's mother is what’s keeping him through this," said Frank Avila, the attorney for Yovany Lopez, Ochoa-Lopez’s husband and the father of Yovanny Lopez.
"He's only 20-years-old, he lost his wife to a gruesome murder... he was not with his baby for the first few weeks of the baby's life," the attorney said, referring to the fact that the alleged murderers passed the child off as their own during the initial weeks of the baby's life.
“It’s like a kick in the gut,” he said. "It's horrific."
Yovanny Lopez died in mid-June, after spending about two months in Adovcate’s Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Illinois.
The hospital responded to ABC News’ request for comment but would not address specific details about the case beyond acknowledging that the bills were sent in error.
“Our hearts and prayers continue to be with the Ochoa-Lopez family during this difficult time. We have had discussions with the family regarding inadvertent billing 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 hospital said in a statement to ABC News.
The horrific case has unfolded over the past two months, with more sordid details being released with every change in the case's status.
Clarisa Figueroa, 46, and Desiree Figueroa, 26, were initially charged with first degree murder in connection to the death of Ochoa-Lopez, who was 19 years old at the time of her death. On Thursday, state officials confirmed that the pair will face a second murder charge as a result of Yovanny Lopez’s death.
Avila said that his client, the grieving husband and father Yovany Lopez, wanted the second murder charge added.
“He believed that was right,” Avila said, "but every time this comes in the media, it’s very difficult for him.”
“I think that he’s going to have things that haunt him forever,” Avila said of Yovany Lopez, who Avila said is 20-years-old and works in construction.
In addition to the updates in the case, Avila said that his client has also received “less than a dozen” bills from the hospital -- even though Avila said that hospital officials had told him that they would not be sending any.
Avila said that “there's negligence and infliction of emotional distress at certain times” by the hospital.
“This broke my heart," Avila said of the case. "This is something that will haunt me forever."
“I’ve held the baby. I was with the baby. I saw the baby in the NICU, and it’s so tragic,” he said, referring to a neonatal intensive care unit.
Avila said that he and his client are in the midst of a probate case “to try and get some more documents because we don’t have all the medical records that were promised.” After that, Avila said that they are planning on filing lawsuits, though none are currently underway.
In May, Assistant State's Attorney James Murphy said that following Ochoa-Lopez's murder, Clarisa Figueroa brought the baby to a nearby hospital, where the child was admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit. Clarisa Figueroa then allegedly formed a GoFundMe page in an effort to raise money for the baby, who authorities say she was passing off as her own.
Both women had pleaded not guilty to the murder charge in the death of Ochoa-Lopez, ABC Chicago station WLS reported. They have not entered pleas on the new murder charges.
Yovany Lopez isn’t the only one grappling with the death of his wife and newborn son. Ochoa-Lopez was also survived by the couple’s 3-year-old son. Avila said that the toddler “doesn’t fully understand what’s going on.”
The toddler did visit his brother in the hospital while he was being treated, after it was determined that the Figueroas were not related to the child.
“When he saw the baby died,” Avila said of the toddler, “he said ‘wake him up, wake him up, I want to play with him.’”