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Baby cut from slain mother's womb is 'fighting and surviving'

The family is praying for a miracle and say the baby has been able to breathe on his own for the first time.

A baby who was cut from his mother's womb after she was murdered is showing signs of improvement, a family representative revealed. 

Police said 19-year-old Marlen Ochoa-Lopez was nine months pregnant when she was lured to a Chicago home and was strangled. Prosecutors said her son was cut from her womb and one of her attackers, 46-year-old Clarisa Figueroa, took the baby to the hospital on April 23 and falsely claimed he was hers. 

An attorney for the victim's husband, Yovani Lopez, said at a news conference Friday that the baby has recently been able to breathe on his own intermittently, according to ABC7 Chicago

"It's still a long way to go for the baby, but the baby is fighting and surviving," attorney Frank Avila said. He added that the baby, named Yovani after his father, has a full head of hair and looked just like his dad. 

A family spokesperson, pastor Emma Lozano, told PEOPLE on Monday that the baby suffered brain damage due to lack of oxygen and they're all "praying for a miracle."

A family representative shared photos in late May when the infant opened his eyes when his dad visited for the first time. 

The victim's family met Friday with officials at Advocate Christ Medical Center, where the baby was originally taken. The family has questioned how Figueroa was able to portray herself as the baby's mother for so long. They have called for a state law requiring hospitals to verify the identities of babies after reported home births. 

Figueroa and her adult daughter have been charged with murder in Ochoa-Lopez's death.

Credit: Chicago Police
Chicago authorities say 19-year-old Marlen Ochoa-Lopez was murdered and had her baby cut from her womb.

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