PLACERVILLE (CBS13) – More tragedy has struck the family of Roman Lopez, the 11-year-old boy who was found dead in his Placerville home last year.
His father and stepmother are facing charges for abuse and neglect.READ MORE: Sacramento Attorney Discusses Why No Murder Charges Were Filed In Death Of 11-Year-Old Roman Lopez
CBS13 is learning Roman’s biological mother, Rochelle Lopez, died in Wisconsin over the weekend. Her mother, Denise, tells CBS13 she plans to bury Rochelle right next to Roman at his gravesite in Wisconsin.
CBS13 spoke with Rochelle, less than 24 hours after she learned her son was found dead.
“He didn’t deserve this. I wish I could’ve been there, maybe I could’ve stopped it,” Rochelle told CBS13 in January 2020.
Rochelle visited Placerville from her home in Wisconsin for a memorial for Roman.
One year later, Roman’s father and step-mother, Jordan and Lindsay Piper, were arrested. Now they’re facing charges of abuse and neglect. Lindsay is also facing charges for poisoning.
“I got the message yesterday that she had passed…pretty rough day for everybody,” said Jessica Przybylski, a friend of Rochelle’s family.READ MORE: Kids Who Lived With Roman Lopez Find Solace With Michigan Family
She wants this community to keep “fighting for justice” for Roman, and, now, Rochelle.
“She talked about Roman all the time. She fought so hard to get him back. She was just a super-strong person. I think she was a lot stronger than she thought she was,” said Jessica.
The Placerville community is also heartbroken, learning of Rochelle’s death. Some told CBS13 they felt like they knew Rochelle and rooted for her in light of a terrible loss.
“It’s a tragedy any way you look at it,” said Brenda Atkins.
Diane Weber said, “We’re just supporting the family. We hoped things would’ve been different. We all care for him in this small town.”
Rochelle’s death coming within hours of what was expected to be a preliminary hearing for Lindsay and Jordan Piper.
Their next court appearance is now later this month.MORE NEWS: Stepmother Father Of Roman Lopez Plead ‘Not Guilty’ In First Court Appearance
If their case goes to trial, Rochelle’s mother Denise tells CBS13, her family will be present in Placerville.