CHICAGO — Remains found in a home in the Scottsdale neighborhood were identified as those of a missing pregnant 19-year-old woman from Pilsen who had been missing since April.
The Cook County Medical Examiner's office identified the remains found early Wednesday at a home on the 4100 block of West 77th Place as those of Marlen Ochoa-Uriostegui, who was nine months pregnant when she went missing.
The office, which identified her as Marlen Ochoa-Lopez, determined her cause of death as ligature strangulation. It was ruled a homicide. The remains were found in a garbage can just after midnight on Wednesday.
Police on Tuesday were questioning four people in the teen's disappearance. The people were taken into custody from the home on West 77th Place.
Detectives could be seen removing bags of evidence from the home Wednesday. A source said investigators discovered a hidden room in the basement which is the place where the teen may have been killed and had the baby removed from her body.
Ochoa-Uriostegui went missing on April 23. After leaving Latino Youth High School in Pilsen, her family said she went to the home on West 77th Place to swap items arranged through a Facebook group called “Help a Sister Out." A 46-year-old woman claimed to have a stroller and other baby items.
"She was giving clothes away, supposedly under the pretenses that her daughters had been given clothes and they had all these extra boy clothes. That's the false pretenses that we believe led her to that house," Cecelia Garcia, a spokeswoman for Ochoa-Uriostegui's family, said.
Hours later that same day, neighbors said the 46-year-old woman came running out of the home claiming that she had just given birth to a baby boy and that he wasn’t breathing.
The baby was transported to Christ Hospital, Chicago fire officials confirmed. He remains hospitalized in intensive care.
Ochoa-Uriostegui's family said DNA testing by police confirmed the baby was hers. The family named him Yadiel, and they are praying for a miracle since he is described as brain dead and on life support. Police have not confirmed to WGN that the baby belongs to Ochoa-Uriostegui.
Neighbors told WGN there was considerable activity overnight at the home on West 77th Place with detectives removing massive amounts of evidence, and there was an apparent focus on the backyard and possibly the basement.
Neighbors said the people being questioned by police include the 46-year-old woman, her boyfriend, her daughter and a man in his 20s. They were also surprised by an alleged birth since no one knew of a pregnancy.
Chicago police said that on May 8 around 1:30 a.m., they found a car matching the description of Ochoa-Uriostegui's car, a black Honda Civic, on the 7700 block of South Keeler Avenue.
The Facebook group Ochoa-Uriostegui used is said to be shut down. A member said she had talked with others about taking precautions when making exchanges.
"Don't go in strangers' houses. Always bring somebody with you," said Facebook group member Samantha Holubik. "I think it's making people more aware, because you would never think that."
The family went to the medical examiner’s office to see the teen’s body after it was identified. However, as of 9 p.m. Wednesday, they had not seen it. The family was devastated and said they were upset about the circumstances surrounding the case.
Ochoa-Uriostegui’s husband said he couldn’t believe it was real. He mentioned how painful the situation was.
Charges have not yet been announced.
Ochoa-Uriostegui was married and had a 3-year-old son.