Boy, 11, found dead inside bin after stepmum ‘tortured and poisoned him’

A missing 11-year-old boy was found dead inside a storage bin in his family's basement after he was starved and dehydrated.

Roman Lopez was found dead in Placerville, California, the US, in January 2020 during extensive police searches.

An autopsy report detailed his dire physical condition, and police accused his stepmother of poisoning his water, according to an arrest warrant.

Lindsey Piper, 38, and father Jordan Piper, 36, were arrested and charged with child abuse and torture, Placerville Police confirmed.

Ms Piper is also charged with poisoning, and Roman's father has an added charge of failure to provide for a child, Crime Online reports.

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Roman’s family sent CBS13 a statement last month that read: “To say this past year has been soul crushing, would be putting it lightly.

"Learning to navigate life knowing we would never see Roman again has been difficult, but the prayers and support from everyone have been a blessing.

"We thank God for Law Enforcement working hard to ensure our sweet boy gets the justice he deserves.

"Roman was such a bright light in our lives. He was always ready and willing to help out, he was always smiling, and cared very much for his family.

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"Our hearts are heavy, but we carry on his memory through art that we’ve had done in his honour, as well as various other small mementos of memorials to him.

"Our hope is that through this investigation, there will be new laws put in place to prevent a tragedy like this from happening to another family.”

Sgt John Meuser told press at the time that Placerville Police were treating the boy's death as “suspicious”.

On February 4 2021, police revealed it took a second search of the California home where seven other children lived, to find Roman's body.

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Child abuse and medical experts were employed for the investigation to analyse forensic evidence and look at data on electronic devices.

The family's move from Placerville to Calaveras County following Roman's death meant multiple law enforcement agencies were consulted.

The Placerville Police Department thanked “Roman’s loved ones, who never lost confidence” in them and answered all questions.

A press release read: “Our hearts will forever be with them all.

“We understand this case brings many questions and emotions within our community, but our commitment to conduct a thorough investigation has never stopped.”

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