This horrific crime shook up the whole immigrant community. It is stereotypical to view immigrants as perpetrators, but the murder of Marlen Ochoa was so gruesome that it made national news and even made everyone question humanity itself.
Marlene Ochoa was a young and beautiful woman who was just starting on the journey we call life. April 23 was like any other day for Marlen. There was no bad omen of any kind, nobody could have guessed that Marlen would meet her horrendous end in the middle of beautiful spring day. She came out of Latino Youth High School in Chicago, IL and was on her way to pick her 3-year old child up, but she never made it. No one knew what happened to Marlen. The family of this young immigrant were desperate for any information, any clue, anything that would help them find her. It was then, but now the family feels that Chicago Police Department was not much help. The father of Marlen Ochoa resides in Des Moines, IA where he takes care of his other child Miguelito of 16 years old, who is unfortunately disabled. Mr. Arnulfo Ochoa is a devout church goer, and the pastor Carlos Tamay of the church that he attends saw worry written all over the face of the father of Marlen.
“Marlen’s father was desperate to find her because there was not much help from the Chicago Police Department,” Ms. Nataly Espinoza, one of the close friends of pastor Tamay, shared, “with financial help from the church of pastor Tamay he decided to hire a private investigator.”
Ms. Espinoza explained that finally the case started to unravel. The private investigator started to poke around online. He discovered that Marlen was part of a Facebook group where pregnant women were helping each other. This new clue was brought to the attention of the police.
No one can be sure who hides behind the profiles in social media. Marlen never imagined that behind a profile of a nice lady who offered free baby clothes was a real monster.
Before going to pick her other child up Marlen made a stop at Clarissa Figueroa’s house. She was going to pick up some free baby clothes for her baby that was due any day. There in the house of Figueroa the horrific crime was committed. The woman and her daughter strangled Marlen with a cable and cut her baby out.
Before this horrible crime, Clarissa Figueroa pretended to be pregnant for weeks. After committing the crime in cold blood the mother and daughter duo, without any remorse for the young woman, they put her butchered body in a garbage can in the backyard. Then Clarissa Figueroa called paramedics telling them that her recently born baby was not breathing. When paramedics came the baby looked blue. The first responders tried to revive the baby, but this tiny life that was brought into this world under such terrible circumstances needed doctors and hospital equipment. They took the baby to the hospital where the baby was in grave condition.
Weeks passed before the police solved the case. The father of Marlen, Arnulfo Ochoa, was critical of the way the Chicago Police Department handled the case. He also was distraught to learn that where were people who alleged they knew about the crime but said nothing to police because of the fear of being undocumented.
The Figueroas disregarded the life of the young woman and stole her future from her. Not only this monstrous mother and daughter duo took Marlen’s life, they also damaged a new life that she was carrying inside of her. Mr. Ochoa was spending weeks in Chicago mourning the loss of his daughter and trying to send her off with dignity and love that was savagely ripped from her. The community members of Des Moines, IA want to help Mr. Ochoa. Because of spending so much time in Chicago, he could not work and to help him cover the costs of funeral some Des Moines community members are organizing a food sale. The funds collected during this event will be given to Arnulfo Ochoa. The food sale will be on May 25 from 10 AM to 5:00 PM and it will take place at 1502 E University, Des Moines. Everyone is invited to support Marlen’s family. You can eat there or take your food home.
This crime was absolutely horrifying. The only thing that all of us can do now is offer support to Ochoa family.