Staff at a Chicago-area hospital failed to alert police and Illinois child welfare officials after they determined a woman who appeared at the medical center covered in blood with an ill newborn wasn’t the child’s mother, authorities said.
The woman, Clarisa Figueroa, 45, was charged more than three weeks later with killing the boy’s mother, Marlen Ochoa-Lopez, after the 19-year-old was found Tuesday in a garbage can outside Figueroa’s home.
Figueroa was bloodied on her upper body and face when she brought the baby to the Advocate Christ Medical Center, prosecutors said. An examination showed no signs she had given birth.
Citing state and federal regulations, the hospital declined to say whether or when it contacted authorities.
"We have been cooperating with authorities and as this is an ongoing police matter, we're referring all inquiries to local law enforcement,” a spokesman told the Associated Press in an email.
Oak Lawn police said they were not notified of Figueroa’s hospital visit by the medical center or any other agency. A spokesman for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services said the agency was alerted May 9 that questions arose as to who had custody of the boy in order to make medical decisions.
"We don't know what was happening at the hospital," he said.
The baby was hospitalized on life-support as of Saturday, authorities said.
Chicago police learned Ochoa-Lopez was missing when her husband filed a report on April 24. The young mother had gone to the Figueroa home in response to a Facebook post about free baby clothes, authorities said.
“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 the family.
Once there, prosecutors said Figueroa and her daughter, Desiree Figueroa, 24, strangled Ochoa-Lopez with a cable cord and cut the baby out of her womb with a butcher knife. She then put the child in a bucket with the umbilical cord still attached, prosecutors said.
A DNA test reveal the Ochoa-Lopez and her husband, Yiovanni Lopez, were the boy’s parents.
Clarisa Figueroa and her daughter Desiree are charged in the death of Ochoa-Lopez. The elder Figueroa's boyfriend, Piotr Bobak, 40, is charged with concealing a homicide.