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Lawyer: Man charged in Marlen Ochoa-Lopez murder ‘had no knowledge’ of killing

Piotr Bobak is accused helping clean the crime scene and trying to raise money for a dying infant he claimed was his son.

Marlen Ochoa-Lopez allegedly went to a home in the 4100 block of 77th Place the day she went missing, police sources said. | Provided; Mitch Dudek/Sun-Times
Marlen Ochoa-Lopez was strangled and her baby stolen from her womb in the living room of this home in the 7100 block of West 77th Place on April 23. Prosecutors say Piotr Bobak claimed the child was his, and was cleaning a rug with bleach at the home the day police found Ochoa-Lopez’s body three weeks later
| Provided; Mitch Dudek/Sun-Times

The lawyer for a 40-year-old man charged with helping two women conceal the murder of 19-year-old Marlen Ochoa-Lopez said Piotr Bobak had no idea his girlfriend had strangled the pregnant teen and cut the baby from her womb.

Bobak was in court Monday for a brief hearing alongside his co-defendants, Clarisa Figueroa and her 24-year-old daughter, Desiree. Bobak is charged with concealment of a homicidal death; the Figueroas face charges of first-degree murder and aggravated battery of a child.

Outside the courtroom, Bobak’s lawyer, Hal Garfinkel, said Bobak had no idea that Desiree and Clarisa Figueroa, whom prosecutors say was Bobak’s girlfriend, had strangled the pregnant Ochoa-Lopez in a plot to steal the unborn child. Bobak was outside the Figueroa’s Scottsdale home, rinsing off a rug with bleach and a hose when police arrived with a warrant to search the house and discovered Ochoa-Lopez’s body in a trash can three weeks after she was killed.

“There is no communication by email, text messages or any social media indicating that he had any knowledge” of the killing, Garfinkel told reporters after the hearing. “While he may have been at the premises at some point, certainly not at the time of the homicide and certainly he was not involved in any way with disposing of a body or in any of sanitizing the crime scene.”

Garfinkel would not say whether Bobak was Clarisa Figueroa’s boyfriend, and said he was not aware of social media posts Bobak allegedly made seeking donations for funeral expenses for “Baby Xander,” a dying newborn he said was his child with Figueroa.

“My son is a fighter made it this far, but not much time left, life support, brain dead, very little function in the brain,” Bobak wrote, according to screenshots of his Facebook page discovered by Ochoa-Lopez’s family.

The child remains on life support. Ochoa-Lopez was buried May 25.

Prosecutors say Bobak had also commented on ultrasound pictures Clarisa Figueroa posted on her Facebook page, showing a child she claimed was hers. Prosecutors said Figueroa had met Ochoa-Lopez on a Facebook group for expectant mothers, and lured the teen to her house in the 4100 block of West 77th Street on April 23. While Ochoa-Lopez was leafing through an album of Figueroa’s baby pictures of her son, Figueroa looped a coaxial cable around her neck and, with Desiree’s help, choked Ochoa-Lopez to death, prosecutors said.

Clarisa Figueroa used a kitchen knife to cut open Ochoa-Lopez’s stomach and removed the infant, then called 911 to report she had given birth at home but the child was not breathing, prosecutors said. At Figueroa’s bond hearing, prosecutors said Figueroa could not have children after a tubal ligation, and DNA testing for the infant matched Ochoa-Lopez and her husband, Yovani Lopez. The DNA testing also excluded Figueroa and Bobak as possible parents of the infant.

Bobak, who has been housed at the state prison in Pontiac because he was on parole for an assault charge in downstate Morgan County when he was arrested in Ochoa-Lopez’s death, was in court wearing shackles and a white-over-black prison uniform. Judge John F. Lyke granted Garfinkel’s request to have Bobak remain in custody at the Cook County Jail.