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Officials Positively Identify Body Of Missing 5-Year-Old Elijah Lewis After He Was Discovered Buried In Woods
“Nobody deserved to die this way and we need to make sure we do everything in our power, to make sure we can get justice for this little boy," Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy Cruz said after investigators discovered Elijah Lewis' remains on Saturday.
Authorities have confirmed that the remains of 5-year-old Elijah Lewis have been found buried in a “grave” in the Massachusetts woods.
The New Hampshire Attorney General’s office announced Sunday that Dr. Richard Atkinson of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for Massachusetts positively identified the remains discovered one day earlier near Ames Nowell State Park as belonging to Elijah.
Atkinson was able to confirm the identification during an autopsy using dental records. However, authorities said the cause and manner of death “remain pending further toxicology testing and further investigation.”
Investigators arrested Elijah’s mother, Danielle Dauphinais, 35, and the man she was with, Joseph Stapf, 30, last week in the Bronx for child endangerment and allegedly hindering the effort to find the young boy after he was reported missing by the New Hampshire’s Division for Children, Youth and Families earlier this month.
Prosecutors said it's unlikely any additional charges will be brought in the case at this stage in the investigation.
“Once we have a determination of cause and manner of death, we’ll be examining all of our facts that we’ve gathered in the investigation and determining what, if any, further charges will be brought,” Senior Assistant Attorney General Susan G. Morrell said in a press conference Saturday streamed by WCVB.
Investigators from Massachusetts and New Hampshire had been searching the wooded area for several days before the grisly discovery was made with the help of a cadaver dog.
According to Morrell, authorities found the boy buried under some soil in what she referred to as a “grave.”
Investigators declined to comment on what led them to the area, but Morrell did say that both surveillance and phone records had been used in the investigation and that they were “very helpful.”
Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy Cruz, who also spoke during the press conference, said his office had been contacted on Thursday “about credible information that led to this wooded area” where the body was ultimately discovered.
“Obviously a little boy is gone,” he said. “Nobody deserved to die this way and we need to make sure we do everything in our power, to make sure we can get justice for this little boy.”
Authorities credited the efforts of investigators in multiple states—including the Massachusetts State Police, New Hampshire State Police and local police departments—with finding Elijah.
“They worked really hard to find this little boy,” Cruz said.
Although the investigation is “just beginning,” Cruz said he was confident that investigators would work together to get justice for Elijah.
“I am confident that whoever is responsible, if anyone, would be held accountable,” he said.
Although authorities initially reported that Elijah had not been independently seen in six months when he was reported missing on October 14, Morrell told Oxygen.com that investigators have “narrowed the time frame as the investigation progressed” and now believe he was seen within 30 days of being reported missing.