A father and stepmother in California both face a murder charge almost two years after their young son was found dead in a storage bin in the family’s home, prosecutors said.
On Jan. 12, 2020 — one day after he was reported missing — police searching the Placerville residence of Jordan Piper and Lindsay Piper located the body of 11-year-old Roman Anthony Lopez stuffed in the container in the basement.
At the time of the grisly discovery, the couple had lived in the rented home for two months after moving from Michigan with the victim and seven other children, ages 1 to 17, the Mountain Democrat reported.
After a yearlong investigation, police arrested the Pipers last February and charged them with child abuse and torture in connection to Roman’s death. Lindsay, 39, received an additional charge of poisoning, while Jordan, 36, got an additional count of failing to provide for a child, according to the publication.
At the time, the Placerville Police Department noted in a news release, an autopsy revealed no obvious trauma but Roman "was found to be severely malnourished and dehydrated" when he died.
The boy allegedly also had poison in his system, officials said.
“Lindsay Marie Piper willfully and unlawfully mingled a poison and harmful substance with food, drink, medicine and pharmaceutical product,” states a criminal complaint obtained by the Mountain Democrat.
El Dorado County Chief Assistant District Attorney Joe Alexander announced a murder charge was added against both Jordan and Lindsay Piper on Oct. 28.
Authorities noted several factors contributed to the length of their investigation.
“Much of this case involved the analysis of forensic evidence, to include obtaining search warrants to seize electronic devices, review data, and working with medical professionals as well as experts in the field of child abuse,” Placerville police said. “Adding to the complexity of this case was how often this family moved and the various agencies they had encountered. The combined investigative team contacted multiple agencies, in another state, including child protective services, medical providers, law enforcement agencies and courts.”
The Pipers have been in the Placerville jail since their arrest. Jordan is being held on$1.05 million bail while Lindsay is being held on $1.3 million bail.
The two are scheduled to be arraigned on Nov. 19.