11-year-old Roman Anthony Lopez was reported missing while residing with his father Jordan Piper and stepmother Lindsay Piper in Placerville, CA on January 11, 2020. Law Enforcement searched the family home for any details leading to the boy’s whereabouts. Unfortunately, they were unable to find Roman. Within just hours of the missing persons report being filed, Law Enforcement completed a second search on the family home. During that search they located the remains of Roman Lopez inside of a storage bin in the basement of the family home.
Authorities said although the autopsy conducted on Roman revealed no obvious trauma, Roman was found to be severely malnourished and dehydrated at the time of his death.
The investigation was more complex than investigators anticipated. The family had moved around several times, which included an out of state agency. The family had reportedly moved from Michigan to the Placerville home December 2019. At the time of Roman’s death there were 7 other children residing in the home, ages 1-17 years old. Four teenagers were Lindsay Piper’s from a previous marriage.
Kira Sutkay, a Michigan woman, told the Sacramento Bee that the three younger children in the Piper home
belonged to her. Kira said she put her children in the care of Lindsay Piper, who moved out of state with the children, without Kira’s knowledge. Authorities have stated that Kira’s three children have been returned to her care.
During a interview with KOVR following Roman’s death, Rochelle Lopez a woman from Wisconsin, said she was Roman’s biological mother. Rochelle had lost custody to Roman’s father after returning from military service in Iraq, with a subsequent PTSD diagnosis along with an addiction to pain killers. Rochelle said she learned about the death of her son from a news report online.
A little over a year later on February 3, 2021 Jordan (36) and Lindsay (38) Piper, were arrested on charges in connection with the child’s death. The couple have been charged with child abuse, torture, and poisoning. The couple were both booked into Calveras County Jail. The Piper’s had been residing in Calveras County at the time of their arrests.
Placerville Police Chief Joseph Wren said “This is a horrific crime that shocked the community. The death of a child affects us all. Now it’s time for the perpetrators to face justice.”
Mayor Dennis Thomas said “The hearts and soul of our community was broken a little over a year ago when we learned of Roman’s death. We mourn the loss of a tender soul at such a young age. Our community has been patiently waiting for this day.”
Update: Rochelle Lopez, the biological mother of Roman died on April 4, 2021. A spokesperson for the family confirmed her death. The family is asking the public to respect their privacy at this time.
We will update this story as more details become available.