A newborn hospitalized in grave condition after police said he was cut from his slain mother’s womb last month has opened his eyes for the first time, according to multiple reports.
Police said the boy’s mother, 19-year-old Marlen Ochoa-Lopez, was killed April 23 by a woman she met through a Facebook group geared toward young mothers. Authorities said Clarisa Figueroa, 46, called 911 after cutting the baby from his mother’s body to falsely claim she’d given birth to a child who was not breathing. Tests later confirmed the boy was not Figueroa’s.
The child, who family members have named Yovanny Jardiel, remained hospitalized Tuesday in critical condition, according to WMAQ-TV. He is not expected to survive.
Cecilia Garcia, a student pastor who has been helping Ochoa-Lopez’s family, told CNN she was photographing the baby Sunday as his father, Yovany Lopez, held him at the hospital.
"We were just praying and praying, and he opened his eyes,” Garcia told CNN. “His dad said, ‘Oh my God, he opened his eyes!'"
She shared images of Lopez and his son early Monday on Facebook.
"We've been blessed, although this is a really bad tragedy,” Garcia told CNN. “They're such a loving and humble family and it's just so wrong what happened to them."
Authorities said Figueroa plotted for months to get a newborn following the death by natural causes of her adult son, The Associated Press reported. Prosecutors said she strangled Ochoa-Lopez with a coaxial cable while her daughter, 24-year-old Desiree Figueroa, showed the pregnant woman a photo album of Clarisa Figueroa’s late son.
Authorities have charged both Figueroas with one count each of first-degree murder and aggravated battery to a child. Clarisa Figueroa’s boyfriend, 40-year-old Piotr Bobak, was also arrested on one count of concealment of a homicide.
Police said first responders found Yovanny Jardiel blue after Clarisa Figueroa reported he was not breathing on April 23, according to The Associated Press. They tried to resuscitate the infant and transported the boy to a nearby hospital, where police said he was in grave condition.
When Figueroa went to the hospital, doctors who examined her found "no signs consistent with a woman who had just delivered a baby." She also had blood on her arms, hands and face that authorities later determined was from Ochoa-Lopez, prosecutors said.
It was not clear whether the hospital contacted police. In a statement issued Friday, Christ Medical Center in suburban Oak Lawn declined to comment, citing federal and state regulations. Oak Lawn police said they were not contacted about Figueroa by the medical center or any other agency, including the Chicago Police Department.
Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart has asked the Department of Child and Family Services to determine whether hospital officials followed proper reporting procedures after Figueroa and the baby were brought to the hospital, WLS-TV reported.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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