CHICAGO (AP) — The Latest on the strangling death of a pregnant woman whose baby was cut from her womb (all times local):
The agency that licenses and inspects health care facilities in Illinois has started an investigation of a hospital where doctors treated a baby brought in by a woman claiming to be his mother. But the woman was later charged with killing the actual mother and cutting the child from her womb.
Illinois Department of Public Health spokeswoman Melaney Arnold would not provide any details on Tuesday about the investigation of Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, saying she was prohibited from doing so while the investigation is ongoing.
Arnold’s comments mark the first time a state agency has confirmed that it is investigating the hospital where doctors treated the baby that Clarisa Figueroa brought in on April 23 because it was not breathing. The investigation comes after Chicago Police and the state’s Department of Children and Family Services said that staff at the hospital did not alert them for several days after determining that Figueroa was not actually the baby’s mother.
Meanwhile, the Cook County Sheriff’s Department has asked the state’s Department of Children and Family Services to determine if the hospital’s failure to immediately alert authorities after determining Figueroa was not the mother was a violation of the state’s Abuse and Neglected and Reporting Act. The sheriff’s department says if DCFS determines there was a violation that it would conduct its own investigation. The hospital has declined to say when or if it notified law enforcement.
The family of the baby cut from his mother’s womb after she was strangled is asking the suburban Chicago hospital why authorities weren’t immediately notified when staffers realized another woman claiming to be the mother was lying.
Family spokeswoman Cecilia Garcia says a member of a church group representing the family asked Advocate Christ Medical Center at a meeting Monday for copies of protocols it follows after receiving a baby who was born at home. Prosecutors say Clarisa Figueroa claimed she had given birth to the baby when she brought him to the hospital on April 23.
Garcia says the hospital hasn’t provided that information and a second meeting hasn’t been scheduled.
Figueroa is charged with murder in the April 23 slaying of Marlen Ochoa-Lopez in Chicago. Police and the state’s child welfare agency say the hospital didn’t immediately alert them after determining Figueroa wasn’t the mother.
The hospital has declined to say when or if it contacted authorities.