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New Hampshire Mom Arrested As Authorities Continue To Search For Missing 5-Year-Old
The last known sighting of Elijah Lewis was six months ago, but he was only reported missing in the last week.
It’s been six months since anyone has seen 5-year-old Elijah Lewis alive.
Now, investigators have arrested Lewis’ mother, Danielle Dauphinais, 35, and the man she was with, Joseph Stapf, 30, for child endangerment and allegedly hindering the effort to find the young boy.
The pair are facing charges of witness tampering after authorities allege “they each asked other people to lie about Elijah and where he was living knowing that child protection service workers were searching for Elijah,” according to a statement from New Hampshire Department of Justice.
Investigators have also charged the couple with child endangerment based on allegations that they “violated a duty of care, protection or support for Elijah.”
Dauphinais and Stapf were arrested Sunday by officers of the New York City Transit Authority after the pair were located in the Bronx.
Elijah was last seen by “independent individuals” about six months ago, however, he wasn’t reported missing until Thursday by New Hampshire’s Division for Children, Youth and Families after the agency was unable to locate him, according to the Merrimack Police Department.
“Elijah was never reported missing to authorities prior to this time,” authorities said.
Police have said they “immediately began an investigation” into the missing boy’s whereabouts, with the assistance of the New Hampshire State Police and the New Hampshire Department of Justice.
“We remain hopeful that Elijah may be alive somewhere,” senior assistant attorney general Benjamin Agati told Oxygen.com. “We are facing the increasing possibility that Elijah has suffered additional harm.”
On Saturday, investigators searched Naticook Lake, which sits directly behind the last known home in Merrimack where Elijah lived, WMUR reports.
“Our search is physically in that area for evidence of where Elijah is, but also we are searching throughout New England to try to find where he is,” Agati told the local station.
Agati told Oxygen.com that search efforts continued at the family’s home on Tuesday. Investigators are also searching a wooded area and water surrounding the home.
Investigators were back at the family’s home again on Monday and neighbors told local station WBTS they are trying to aid investigators.
“Everybody in the neighborhood has been doing all they can to try to help with this,” neighbor Gregory Doppstadt said.
Doppstadt said he hadn’t seen the boy for about a year, but remembered being concerned for the child.
“He was a very, very thin kid. He looked a little—my first thought was, ‘I got to make this kid a sandwich.’ He was really thin,” he said. “You just wanted to feed him.”
Dauphinais and Stapf both waived extradition in a New York City court Monday night and are being transported back to New Hampshire today, Agati said.
They are expected to appear for an arraignment Wednesday in Hillsborough County Superior Court-Southern District.