7 children in protective custody as Placerville police investigate boy's death

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PLACERVILLE, Calif. (KTXL) -- The death of an 11-year-old boy has rocked a quiet foothills community.

Monday night, police continued to investigate what happened to Roman Lopez, whose body was found Saturday night.

He was reported missing earlier in the day, prompting a massive search near his home on Coloma Street.

Flowers, candles and condolences were later placed at a small memorial outside of the Placerville home.

Few were taking the news of what police called a suspicious death as hard as Kira Sutkay, who lives in Michigan.

“There’s just no way a child just dies, you know, unexpectedly,” Sutkay told FOX40. “The boy was healthy. My three children, they always played with him.”

She was longtime friends with the 11-year-old boy’s parents, who recently moved to California.

Sutkay’s three biological children were living with the family in the Coloma Street house, Placerville police confirmed. She told FOX40 Lopez’s parents had custody of her kids.

“We were going through tough times and she decided to reach out and offered to help,” Sutkay said.

But hearing of Lopez’s death she said she worried for her own young kids.

“That's why I feel my children are in danger,” she explained.

Police said the seven children living in the home, including Sutkay’s children, were placed into protective custody as the investigation continued.

However, authorities would not comment on any possible suspects and repeated that the case was still considered a “suspicious death.”

Sutkay said she could not help but wonder who is responsible for Lopez’s death but said she knows one thing for sure.

“I want my kids back,” Sutkay said.

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