Placerville police announce arrests of father, stepmother in death of Roman Lopez

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PLACERVILLE, Calif. (KTXL) — Police in Placerville announced the arrests of 11-year-old Roman Lopez’s father and stepmother in connection to his death in January 2020.

Jordan Piper, Lopez’s 36-year-old father, is charged with failure to provide for a child along with child abuse and torture. Lindsay Piper, the boy’s 38-year-old stepmother, is charged with poisoning, child abuse and torture.

Both were arrested Wednesday night without incident in Calaveras County, where they had since moved.

“We have evidence that proves each of the crimes beyond a reasonable doubt that they were arrested for,” Placerville Police Chief Joseph Wren said.

In January 2020, Lopez was found dead in the basement of his father’s home hours after he was reported missing.

On Thursday, police finally revealed exactly where his body was later discovered.

“After an initial search of the home was unsuccessful, a second more extensive search of the home was launched. Placerville Police investigators then located Roman’s deceased body inside a storage bin inside the basement of the home,” Wren said.

However, Wren and El Dorado County District Attorney Vern Pierson say they can not reveal all of what they believe happened.

“This case, unfortunately, there is a component of this that to this day we’re confident in saying we will never actually know, to an ability to prove beyond a reasonable doubt, the answers to certain parts of it,” Pierson said.

Kristin Jabs-Ellenburg, a family spokesperson, said Lopez’s mother never gave up hope that justice would be served.

“They’re relieved; I mean that might be an understatement, honestly, like relieved,” she said. “It all paid off.”

Seven additional children ranging in age from 1 to 17 years old also lived at the home at the time of the boy’s death.

Placerville police would not comment on if they suffered abuse as well, but tell FOX40 that child protective services has been involved with their cases.

“Three of the youngest children were returned back to their biological family, and CPS is involved in the case regarding the other children,” Wren said.

Lopez’s family issued a statement later Thursday through a spokesperson:

Just over a year ago, the family of Roman Lopez received news that would change their lives forever. Since that day, several local and federal law enforcement agencies have worked tirelessly to achieve their goal of making arrests. Yesterday, they reached their goal.

The announcement of the arrests of Jordan and Lindsay Piper has brought feelings of immeasurable relief to Roman’s family. However, they still carry the sadness of losing Roman, now in measured depths.

Roman’s family would like to thank the Placerville Police Department and all other law enforcement agencies for their ongoing pursuit, which led to yesterday’s arrests. Roman’s family would also like to give special thanks to Chief Joseph Wren and Detective Luke Gadow of the Placerville Police Department for their unwavering support over the past year.

Roman’s family is grateful and appreciative for the incredible outpouring of kindness and support from around the world, especially from the Placerville community.

The arrests of Jordan and Lindsay Piper are certainly significant, but this is only the beginning of a journey that will lead to Roman receiving the justice he so richly deserves.

Family of Roman Lopez, via spokespersons Kristin Jabs-Ellenburg and Rex Osborn

This is a developing story.

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