On Jan. 11, 2020, Lopez's stepmother, Lindsay Piper, reported Lopez missing from their home on 2892 Coloma St., where the district attorney's office said he and his family had lived for approximately two months. Lopez reportedly lived with his father, Jordan Piper, and his stepmother, Lindsay Piper, along with seven other children, ages 1 to 17 years old.
Investigators conducted an initial search for the boy but were unsuccessful. According to the district attorney's office, officials performed a "second, more extensive search of the home," and Placerville Police found Lopez's remains inside a storage bin in the basement.
An autopsy report showed Lopez had "no obvious trauma," but he was "severely malnourished and dehydrated at the time of his death."
Lopez weighed around 42 pounds when he died. Investigators reportedly retrieved medical records for Lopez and learned he weighed 61 pounds when he was 9 years old. The El Dorado County Sheriff's Office Coroner determined Lopez had not been to a doctor in the two years since that appointment.
Lopez had reportedly suffered physical abuse for years and had been "restrained by being tied and zip-tied to his bed at night."
Investigators noted that the family often moved, which added to the "complexity of this case."
El Dorado County District Attorney Vern Pierson said in a statement, "It is absolutely horrific and incomprehensible the way Roman was tortured, abused, and murdered by his own father."
Pierson continued, "Although I recognize that it will never seem like enough prison time for any parent who killed their child, today I believe we secured some measure of justice for Roman Lopez."
Jordan Piper and Lindsay Piper were initially charged with multiple criminal counts, including child abuse, poisoning, and torture.