Update at 2:12 p.m.: Both of the Pipers pleaded not guilty.

PLACERVILLE (CBS13) – Jordan and Lindsay Piper, Roman Lopez’s father and stepmother, were scheduled to be arraigned Monday at 1 p.m. in a Placerville courtroom. It was the first time the couple has faced a judge since charges were announced.

On January 11, 2020, Roman was found dead, malnourished, and dehydrated inside a storage bin in the basement of the family’s home. A year after the grim discovery, prosecutors on Thursday announced charges of child abuse, torture, and even poisoning, against the Pipers. But one thing that hasn’t been brought forward is a murder charge.

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.

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.

“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.