CHICAGO (CBS) — She was just 19 years old, pregnant with her second child, when she was murdered.
Today, family and friends said their final goodbyes to Marlen Ochoa.
“We know that her name will not be forgotten,” said Julie Contreras, of League of United Latin American Citizens.
“I think the heavens are agreeing with us today,” said Contreras, referring to the dark clouds.
“Marlen Ochoa, I say that name with honor and pride. I feel for her family.”
Before today’s funeral at Mount Auburn Memorial Park in Stickney, the community had been paying their respects and many didn’t even know Ochoa. For two days, mourners came to Mount Auburn Funeral Home to offer support to Ochoa’s grieving family.
Ochoa was reported missing and then found dead earlier this month on the Southwest Side. Clarissa Figureoa was her daughter, Desiree, have been charged with Ochoa’s murder and aggravated battery of a child.
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That baby, officials say, was torn from Ochoa’s womb after Ochoa was strangled by Figureoa, Doctors say the baby has no brain activity.
In Pilsen, a memorial for Marlen is growing by the hour. Hundreds of people have brought flowers, messages and candles to place in front of a mural of Marlen’s face.
After Ochoa’s murder, activists are working with legislators to draft Marlen’s Law. The bill would require hospitals to verify the identity of anyone who enters a facility claiming they gave birth to a baby.
After strangling Ochoa, Clarissa Figureoa called an ambulance and claimed the baby was hers. She was photographed with the child inside the hospital.
“We believe that she should be etched in the book of law in this nation so that this crime does not occur again,’ said Contreras.
Marlen’s grandmothers have been granted 20 days of time to remain here in the Chicago area.
They plan to be present at the next court date for Figueroa on June 3, demanding justice.