Yovani Yadiel Lopez entered the world April 23 after he was removed from the womb of his mother, 19-year-old Marlen Ochoa-Lopez. Police and prosecutors allege that 46-year-old Clarisa Figueroa lured Ochoa-Lopez to her Southwest Side home with the promise of free baby clothes, then allegedly killed the young woman with the help of her daughter Desiree and removed Yovani from her womb.
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Figueroa then claimed there was a medical emergency, police said, and told first responders she had just given birth to a baby that was not breathing. The Chicago Fire Department confirmed that its paramedics transported Figueroa and the newborn from the home to Advocate Christ Medical Center.
Baby Yovani has been in critical condition in the intensive care unit since then.
The family's attorney Frank Avila described the baby as "handsome" and said he had a full head of hair and looked like his father, Yovani Lopez. He also shared that the baby has been able to breathe on his own intermittently, which had given the family hope.
Julie Contreras, a family friend who has been acting as a spokesperson for the family, told ABC7 Eyewitness News on Thursday evening that the family had gotten a second opinion on the baby's prognosis. That physician reached the same conclusion as Yovani's current doctors, which is not favorable.
"It is very difficult to wrap your head around all of what's occurring," Contreras said. "I see a father who is in so much pain. I see the parents of Marlen in so much pain."
"A dad just received a second opinion that is the same as the first opinion, severe damage to the brain," Contreras continued. "And it doesn't look good, the prognosis of the child ever being able to laugh, cry or open his eyes."
The family plans to get a third opinion from a doctor at Lurie Children's Hospital.
The family gathered outside Advocate Christ Medical Center Friday night to pray for a miracle. One of the doctors at the hospital joined them.
"We pray for them not only now but in the many months ahead," said Dr. Brett Galley.
The family is trusting a higher power for what comes next.
"This child, he needs a miracle in order to survive and so they're bringing it to God. They also respect that he is in his grace and in the end God will decide if he's going to take him home or not," said Contreras.
Though the family commended the hospital's care for Yovani, they were frustrated by the hospital's overall handling of the situation.
Avila said legal action is anticipated, but said he was not at liberty to discuss it.
Avila said his team was in the "fact-finding stage," trying to access records that are protected by HIPAA. Contreras said the hospital's actions added to the family's grief.
"They're defending the rights of this murderer and it's hard for the family to hear that. It's difficult. It's painful. It's as if they're being re-victimized again," she said.
The family has called for changes to hospital policies and procedures to prevent future situations like theirs.
The Illinois Department of Public Health has opened an investigation into the situation.
Christ Medical Center has previously said it can't comment on the case.
The three people charged in Marlen's murder are being held without bond. They're due back in court June 12.
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