by Steven Ertelt
August 24, 2005
Philadelphia, PA (LifeNews.com) — New details are emerging in a case in which a Pennsylvania man is charged with killing a pregnant woman and her unborn child. Local authorities say Stephen Poaches, the father of the baby, has admitted to killing his girlfriend, LaToyia Figueroa, because she refused to have an abortion.
Poaches was arrested Saturday after police ended their month-long search when they found the dead woman in Chester, Pennsylvania, about 13 miles away from Philadelphia.
Friends say Poaches may have killed Figueroa because he had also gotten another woman pregnant. However, the suspect told police he murdered Figueroa, who was five months pregnant at the time, because she wouldn’t have an abortion.
Investigators have told reporters that Poaches admitted he strangled the young woman in rage when she told him she didn’t agree with having an abortion.
Figueroa was the mother of a seven year-old daughter. She was last seen July 18 when Poaches accompanied her to a prenatal checkup.
Meanwhile, police are also arresting a man who may have assisted Poaches in disposing of her body in a weed-covered vacant lot.
Relatives and friends had covered the city in fliers trying to find the young woman and a reward of $100,000 was offered for any information leading to her.
"Now she can rest in peace," her father, Melvin Figueroa, said. "All I want is justice with that peace."
"Why he did it, I will never understand why, because she never did harm to him," he said, after a memorial service for Figueroa.
"I had a bad feeling about him from the beginning," Melvin said of his daughter’s boyfriend. Poaches was supposed to have dinner with him and his wife one evening and left without an explanation. He never saw Poaches again.
Police found him trying to move Figueroa’s body at the time. He was found trying to dump Figueroa’s body over a fence and into a wooded, weed-infested lot where few people venture.
Services for Latoyia Figueroa are set for Thursday evening with a viewing and memorial service that will be held at the Victory-Christian Center. Friday morning, another viewing, followed by funeral services, will be held at Saint Peter the Apostle Church, according to WPVI-TV.