CHICAGO (CBS) — Marlen Ochoa has been missing for more than two weeks, and was due to give birth to her baby this week, and her family believes a newborn found abandoned on top of a garbage can in the Hermosa neighborhood Tuesday afternoon could be her child.
Marlen is 19 years old and 9 months pregnant. She has been missing since April 23. She was due to give birth on Sunday, and her family has asked police to determine if a baby found on top of a garbage can in an alley near Keystone and Wabansia is Marlen’s.
“The baby that was found yesterday, there’s a possibility it’s my daughter’s,” said Ochoa’s mother. “I pray to God it is.”
“We hope that DNA testing will lead us to that result, one way or another,” said Rev. Walter Coleman, the family’s pastor.
A mother and daughter spotted the baby after hearing him crying then took him to a firehouse.
Paramedics then tied off the umbilical cord of the bleeding baby and began working on him.
Paramedics worked on the baby, who they say was not breathing and had no pulse, for more than a half hour before emergency room workers took over, a source told CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov.
“I wasn’t too optimistic, like I said to the lieutenant here,” said Patrick Fitzmaurice, CFD paramedic field chief. “I wasn’t ready to lose this one today, and neither were they. And they worked very hard. Then we got excellent response from Chicago police, who escorted the ambulance to Norwegian American, and they did a fantastic job there.”
The baby was taken to Norwegian American Hospital and then transported to Lurie Children’s Hospital.
A source told Kozlov the baby was stabilized and moving his arms and legs with his eyes open after the incident. After paramedics worked on him, the source says neonatal doctors at Norwegian American Hospital worked to save him without giving up, even though some thought it was futile.
Lurie Children’s Hospital has declined to provide an update on the baby’s condition, citing privacy concerns.
The baby will be in DCFS care when he is released from the hospital, DCFS confirms.
Coleman said police investigating the case have agreed to check the baby’s DNA against Marlen’s medical records and family DNA samples to determine if it is hers. He said he hopes to have an answer by Mother’s Day this weekend.
“We praise God that, no matter whose baby it is, that this baby turned out through the efforts of the fire department to be alive. That’s a blessing from the Lord,” Coleman said.
Marlen was last seen leaving Latino Youth High School in Pilsen. Her family has said there have been possible sightings at the Walgreens at 55th and Kedzie. There also have been reports she was seen at a Mexican restaurant just blocks away, but nothing has been confirmed.
Coleman said the family is convinced she has been kidnapped.
“We’re convinced now that there’s some wrongdoing here; that this is not somebody that just disappeared. This is somebody that we believe is being held, and we hope that she’s alright,” he said. “We believe that Marlen is still alive.”
“We hope that it is the baby, but we’re also worried that my wife won’t appear,” said Marlen’s husband Giovanni Lopez. “We’re desperate, we’re sad; in hopes that the baby they found is my wife’s.”
Coleman said police have been following up on leads in Marlen’s disappearance.
“We would appeal to those who we believe are holding Marlen, think about your own mothers. Think about what a child needs from their mother. Think about the pain of the rest of the family members separated from a daughter, a wife that they love, and return Marlen. Call and tell us where she is, so that we can resolve this quickly,” he said.