After an exhaustive investigation and prosecution, the stepmother of 11-year-old Roman Lopez was convicted of Murder in the Second Degree. On Friday, July 8, 2022, Lindsay Piper was sentenced to the maximum possible punishment of 15 years to life in the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

“When horrific and incomprehensible things happen within our community it affects us all,” said El Dorado County District Attorney Vern Pierson. “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.”

Roman’s father, Jordan Thomas Piper, is in jail facing state charges that are still pending. He also faces federal charges of sexual exploitation of a child unrelated to Roman’s case.

The investigation, led by the Placerville Police Department, was a collaboration of numerous state and federal law enforcement agencies. The case was investigated by Placerville Police Department Sergeant Luke Gadow and Captain Kim Nida. Numerous other officers were tasked by Chief Joe Wren in assisting in the investigation.

The El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office contributed to the investigation with countless hours of work by Investigators Jim Applegate, Ken Barber, Chief Jeff Dreher, Rhia Grotke, Rich Horn, John Robertson and Deputy District Attorney Jay Linden. The DA’s Victim Witness Program Manager Patti Harrington counseled and consoled members of Roman’s family from various parts of the country.

The two brothers bravely stood before the court and read their victim impact statements where they described horrific events that occurred but are now healing from the trauma they endured.
The El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office Coroner Nicholas Cortez was involved in the investigation of Roman’s death and provided a detailed report into Roman’s medical history and demonstrating a lack of medical treatment in recent years.

The Federal Bureau of Investigations contributed to the investigation in both manpower and financial assistance in the testing of physical evidence. FBI Agents Scott Schofield and Suzanna Warren were among the numerous agents who assisted in the investigation.

Dr. Sarah Avedschmidt was the pathologist who conducted the autopsy on Roman Lopez. Dr. Angela Vickers provided expert information on the abuse and torture of the child.

“Our entire community has felt the pain of losing Roman and have mourned him for a long time,” said Pierson. “Friday’s sentencing brings part of this case to a close. There is still more work to be done on this case. Hopefully the small measure of justice meted out on Friday will be a step toward healing for everyone.”