Marlen Ochoa-Lopez was baptized April 2010 at the South Shore Hispanic Church. She was reported missing last month, before her body was discovered last week. Police said she was lured to the home of a Chicago woman under the guise of receiving free clothing for Ochoa-Lopez's unborn baby.

March 4, 2020

Lake Union issues statement in response to slain Chicago member; baby removed from womb

Lake Union—Lake Union Conference president has issued a statement in response to the highly-publicized killing of a member in our territory. According to...

Lake Union—Lake Union Conference president has issued a statement in response to the highly-publicized killing of a member in our territory. According to news reports, Chicago resident Marlen Ochoa-Lopez was nine months pregnant when she was strangled, and her baby boy removed from her womb. The infant remains in critical condition.


In his statement, Maurice Valentine said, “It is with heartfelt sorrow that we, the Lake Union Conference officers and staff, share our collective thoughts of grief and utter dismay with the Chicago area faith community for the tragic death of Marlen Ochoa-Lopez. 


“Moreover, we express our profound sense of sorrow to the husband, sibling, family, church family and surrounding community of the South Shore Spanish Seventh-day Adventist Church for this senseless loss, and our prayers for the baby that struggles to survive this horrific act. Knowing death was never a part of God’s plan, we are disturbed by any loss of life. However, this instance of unspeakable violence toward a young mother of our church family causes our hearts to mourn in ways beyond words description. 


“We ask that the Lake Union Conference family encompassing our four-state region to thoughtfully join us in prayer for this family as we work collectively for a day when sin, violence and viciousness will have no place in God’s universe.”


According to news reports, Ochoa-Lopez grew up primarily in Chicago with her mother. Her father lives in Iowa and is a member of the Des Moines Spanish Seventh-day Adventist Church, which is collecting donations to assist the family. Arnulfo Lopez told reporters that, despite his daughter’s gruesome death, he and his family are still trusting in God. “It is a terrible crime. We must remember that God will return one day and bring His people home, but while we are here, we will suffer. We must believe God is with us.”


The family is receiving support from various communities of faith, including the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Lake Union vice president and multicultural ministry director, Carmelo Mercado, is scheduled to participate in this week’s funeral, along with Lake Region’s South Shore Hispanic Church pastor, Ariel Padron.


Visitation for Ochoa-Lopez will be from 3 to 9 p.m. Thursday and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday at Mount Auburn Funeral Home at 4101 S. Oak Park Ave. in the Chicago suburb of Stickney. The funeral will be at 9 a.m. Saturday at the funeral home’s chapel.


The Lake Union Conference serves 88,000 members in more than 500 churches in five conferences—Indiana, Illinois, Lake Region, Michigan and Wisconsin. For more information, visit


Statement in Spanish


Con sincero pesar nosotros, los oficiales y el personal de la Unión del Lago nos unimos en dolor y consternación por la trágica muerte de Marlen Ochoa-Lopez.

Además, expresamos nuestro más profundo sentido pésame al esposo, hermano, familiares, familia de la iglesia y comunidad circundante de la Iglesia Adventista del Séptimo Día South Shore por esta pérdida atroz, y nuestras oraciones por el bebé que lucha por sobrevivir este horrible acto. Sabiendo que la muerte nunca fue parte del plan de Dios, nos perturbamos ante cualquier pérdida humana. Sin embargo, este caso de violencia indescriptible hacia una joven madre de la familia de nuestra iglesia hace que nuestros corazones se lamenten más allá de lo que las palabras puedan expresar.

Pedimos a todas las familias de la Unión del Lago, a lo largo de nuestros cuatro estados, se unan a nosotros en oración por esta familia mientras unidos trabajamos por un día en que el pecado, la violencia y la maldad no tendrán lugar en el universo de Dios.