By CBS13 Staff

PLACERVILLE (CBS13) – A big question surrounding the arrest of a father and stepmother for the death of 11-year-old Roman Lopez in Placerville is why no murder charges were filed.

On Thursday, more than a year after Roman’s body was found in a storage bin in the basement of his home, his father, 36-year-old Jordan Piper, and stepmother, 38-year-old Lindsey Piper, were arrested on multiple charges, including child abuse and torture. Jordan Piper was additionally charged with failure to provide, while Lindsey Piper was additionally charged with poisoning.

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The Pipers were taken into custody in Calaveras County, and El Dorado County authorities, including the district attorney’s office and Placerville police, announced the arrests were in connection to Roman’s death.

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Police said when Roman’s body was found, he appeared to be malnourished and dehydrated but showed no signs of physical trauma.

Due to the complexity of the case, details regarding the location of Roman’s body weren’t released until more than a year after he went missing and his subsequent death. And it’s that complexity, among other factors, that Sacramento-area Attorney Mark Reichel says may be factoring into there being no murder charges filed against the Pipers.

Reichel said charging the suspects with murder now could lead to the Pipers demanding a speedy trial, and the prosecutors may simply need more time.

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“They charge what they can right now. That holds the people,” Reichel said. “That’s going to hold them in jail, and they’re not going to get out on bail because this is the specter hanging over them. It gives them time to figure out what the true cause of death was and whether they can make a murder charge.”

Reichel also added that the pandemic may have contributed to the delay in the investigation and releasing of information.

As of Friday morning, there was still no word on when the Pipers will appear in court.

Some of the charges in the complaints are for alleged crimes dating back to 2018 and may not be directly tied to Roman’s death.

At the time of Roman’s death, he was living with the Pipers along Coloma Street with seven other children between the ages of 1 and 17.

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