Police offer few details in death of 11-year-old Placerville boy

Roman Lopez
Roman Lopez, 11.
(Placerville Police Department)

A woman who described herself as the biological mother of 11-year-old Roman Lopez says she found out about her son’s death from an online article.

Rochelle Lopez, who lives in Wisconsin, told Sacramento’s KOVR-TV Channel 13 that no one had contacted her about Roman, who was found dead Saturday in Placerville, Calif.

She told KOVR that she was deployed to Iraq when Roman was a baby, and that she later dealt with addiction to pain medications. It is unclear when she last saw Roman.

“I told Roman that I would do everything I can do be with him again,” she said.

Roman lived with his biological father, Jordan Piper, and his stepmother Lindsey Piper, according to the Placerville Police Department. Jordan Piper recently moved the family to California for a better job opportunity, according to police. The couple had eight children living with them at the time of Roman’s death. The Pipers told the Sacramento Bee that they initially got little help from local authorities, who they said did not act swiftly when the parents reported the boy missing.

Roman was last seen Saturday morning at his home in Placerville, police said. He was found during a search by law enforcement officers and community members. The case is being investigated as a suspicious death.

The Placerville Police Department said in a news release Thursday that the agency has provided limited information to the public because “there is very sensitive information that if released, could jeopardize the investigation.”

The agency said it doesn’t yet have a pathologist’s report and will not provide any further information about the autopsy. The pathologist’s report is expected to take four to six weeks.

“We realize that the press and public are looking for answers and mourning the loss of Roman,” the agency said in the release. “The police department has also been affected and has been working tirelessly to complete the investigation. The complexity of this case will require time and patience.”