REMEMBERING MOLLY: New mother dies suddenly at 32

REMEMBERING MOLLY: New mother dies suddenly at 32

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MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) -

It's a heartbreaking story -- a new mother who seemed to be healthy dies suddenly just two weeks after delivering a beautiful baby girl.

It's still unclear what caused Molly Malone Chottepanda's death, but her friends and loved ones are committed to making sure that her legacy of love and compassion lives on.

"She was gorgeous," husband Kushal Chottepanda said. "She had a face that could light up a room."

The family photo taken on May 17 shows a precious moment for a family welcoming a baby girl. The joy and the dreams for the future can be seen -- but it wouldn't last.

Just two weeks later, mom was gone -- a mysterious natural death.

"She was like Snow White -- elegant, kind," Kushal Chottepanda said.

Their fairytale love took shape in southwest Minneapolis.

"Molly loved Minneapolis," her widower told Fox 9 News. "She was so loyal to Minneapolis. Loved Lake Calhoun, Lake Harriet, the parks."

The pair grew up separated by a couple of years in school and a mile between their homes in the shadow of the lakes.

"These are some childhood photos," Kushal Chottepanda shared. "Looks like a sleepover party -- just being goofy at the lake."

The two didn't connect until they met at the wedding of mutual friends while they were in their 20s.

"We knew of each other, but we didn't really know each other," he explained.

From that moment, the couple was bound to spend the rest of their lives together. In mid-May, they welcomed a healthy baby girl named Mara, who weighed 9 pounds, 3 ounces and measured 22.5 inches. Their dream of starting a family seemed complete.

"The day before I had to go back to work, she started crying," Kushal Chottepanda recalled. "I said, 'Molly, why are you crying? I'm just going back to work. I will be back at 5 p.m.' She said, 'Well, it's not going to be same."

Chottepanda explained he believes that was his wife's way of telling him something was about to change -- but what happened next is unimaginable.

The following night, Kushal Chottepanda went to play softball after work. His mother in law was looking after the baby and his wife went to take a bath, but she would never get out of the tub.

Instead, her mother found Molly Chottepanda lifeless, under the water.

"The doctor told me there was no pulse," Kushal Chottepanda recalled. "We yelled at the doctor, 'Don't stop trying to resuscitate!' They called her death at 9:05 p.m."

An autopsy would rule out a brain aneurysm and blood clots. Tests are still pending on her heart, but her husband's is broken.

"Every time I close my eyes at night, I see her," he said. "Every time I see [Mara] -- that's [Molly's] mouth; that's her nose."

With a daughter to raise, Chottepanda is committed to making sure that no one forgets Molly -- especially his week-old Mara.

"I want Molly to be remembered. I want Mara to remember her mother. I want her children to remember her grandmother," he said.

Family and friends are now in the early stages of organizing the Molly Malone Chottepanda Walk to be held annually on May 29th, the day of her death, around the lakes she loved so much. Proceeds will fund a scholarship at Southwest High School.

YOUCARING: Fund for Mara and Kushal Chottepanda

FACEBOOK: Remembering Molly

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