Body of missing New Hampshire boy found, mother already arrested

Local and state authorities had been frantically searching for more than a week for a young New Hampshire boy reported missing on Oct. 14.

Unfortunately, authorities from Massachusetts and New Hampshire now believe they have discovered and recovered the body of 5-year-old Elijah Lewis, Fox News reported.

The boy’s body was reportedly found buried in a shallow grave in a wooded area near Abington, Massachusetts. That discovery came about a week after the boy’s mother and her boyfriend were located and arrested in New York City, charged with child endangerment, and witness tampering.

Tragic conclusion

“This morning, state police, a cadaver dog, and special emergency response team members located what is presumed to be Elijah’s body buried in the ground,” Plymouth District Attorney Tim Cruiz said in a press conference Saturday, according to Fox. “I’m not going to get into the specifics of the crime scene or the manner in which this boy’s body was found at this time.”

Local ABC affiliate WMUR reported that Lewis’ body was said to have been found located by the cadaver dog in a shallow grave in the Ames Nowell State Park in Massachusetts, part of a massive search of the area that began on Friday.

Various officials expressed their grief over the tragic conclusion of the search for the missing boy from Merrimack, New Hampshire, and offered appreciation for the men and women who had spent time looking for the child.

An autopsy was scheduled to be conducted Sunday by the Massachusetts chief medical examiner and a full investigation of the matter will continue.

Mother/boyfriend arrested

The timing of the discovery is interesting in that it occurred less than a week after the boy’s mother, 35-year-old Danielle Denise Dauphinais, and her boyfriend, 30-year-old Joseph Stapf, were both arrested Oct. 17 by New York City Transit Authority officers on warrants issued out of New Hampshire, according to an Oct. 18 news release from the New Hampshire attorney general’s office.

Both of those arrested have been charged with child endangerment and witness tampering, and New Hampshire is seeking to have the arrested couple extradited from New York to New Hampshire to stand trial.

The child endangerment charge “alleges that they violated a duty of care, protection or support for Elijah,” while the witness tampering charge alleged that “they each asked other people to lie about Elijah and where he was living knowing that child protection service workers were searching for Elijah.”

The release noted that the boy had only been reported missing on Oct. 14 after his unknown whereabouts came to the attention of New Hampshire’s Division of Youth, Children, and Families (DYCF), which prompted an immediate investigation and search involving multiple agencies, beginning with the Merrimack Police Department.

Lewis had never been formally reported as missing to authorities prior to that time, but WMUR reported that police said he had been missing for several weeks prior to that. In fact, New Hampshire Attorney General John Formella’s office claimed that the last confirmed sighting of the boy had been roughly six months ago, according to Fox.

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