When police confronted her with their evidence, Palacios admitted calling Herrera's house. But in a written statement to police, obtained by the AP, she insisted that she was pregnant, and said that she too was a victim of the baby-trafficking ring.
Palacios told police she and Herrera were both picked up by Diana Rivas, an obstetrics nurse, ostensibly for an appointment at the Hogar de Madre. Palacios claimed she went into labor in the taxi and began hemorrhaging, and that just before losing consciousness, she saw the taxi driver strike Herrera on the head with a tire iron.
Palacios said she awoke and was handed a baby she thought was her own. DNA tests later revealed the baby to be Herrera's.
Rivas, who was arrested with Palacios, denied participating in Herrera's murder, but acknowledged preparing a history of prenatal checkups for Palacios, documenting the development of an unborn baby that police said never existed.
Palacios is now in jail along with four alleged accomplices, her boyfriend, ex-husband, Rivas and a clinic social worker. Police are investigating several physicians, including one whose name appeared on a fake ultrasound Palacios presented.
Herrera's father, Miguel Herrera, told the AP that on the day of his daughter's slaying, a stranger called asking for her. "Today Claudina has an appointment in Hogar de Madre in the gynecology department," he recalled the woman saying. "We need her to be there and we prefer that she come alone."
Pilar Villavicencio, the mother of Herrera's boyfriend, said Herrera had been looking forward to her baby shower at the time of her death.
"She was a very tranquil, good girl. Very innocent. Very humble," she said.
Now, Villavicencio is helping to raise the baby girl. They call her Fabiana Antonella -- the name Herrera chose a few weeks before she was killed.