CHICAGO (AP) — Three people have been arrested in connection with the death of a pregnant Chicago woman, who was strangled before her baby was cut from her womb.
Chicago police took the three into custody shortly before the body of Marlen Ochoa-Lopez was discovered Wednesday behind a home on the city's Southwest Side. Authorities were to release the names of those arrested later Thursday.
Ochoa-Lopez was nine months pregnant when she disappeared April 23. Police and family say she had gone to a home in response to a Facebook offer of free baby clothes.
Authorities say that the same day Ochoa-Lopez vanished, a 46-year-old woman called 911 about a baby in distress. The baby isn't expected to survive.
The Cook County medical examiner's office identified the victim on Wednesday as that of 19-year-old Marlen Ochoa-Uriostegui.
Ochoa-Uriostegui's body was discovered after several people were taken into custody at the home, according to authorities. No charges against those in custody have been announced.
Her family said they believe she went to the home after a woman on Facebook said she had a stroller and baby clothes, according to the Chicago Tribune.
"She was giving clothes away, supposedly under the pretense that her daughters had been given clothes and they had all these extra boy clothes," said Cecelia Garcia, a spokeswoman for Ochoa-Uriostegui's family.
Chicago Fire Department spokesman Larry Merritt told the Chicago Tribune paramedics were called to the home for a newborn with problems breathing on the same day the woman disappeared.
"We believe that she was murdered and we believe that the baby was forcibly removed following that murder," said Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi. He adds the baby was hospitalized and is in "grave" condition after being cut from the mother's body.
The medical examiner's office announced Ochoa-Uriostegui died of ligature strangulation, and her death is considered a homicide. Ochoa-Uriostegui was nine months pregnant when she disappeared April 23 after leaving her high school.
Guglielmi said investigators are interviewing the people taken from the home about the slaying of Ochoa-Uriostegui.
"We believe all of them played some role in this unspeakable act of violence," he said.