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N.H. woman charged with murder 6 months after missing 5-year-old son was found dead in shallow grave

CONCORD, N.H. (TCD) — A 35-year-old woman has been charged with murder for the death of her 5-year-old son who was reported missing in October and later found in a shallow grave.

The New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office announced in a statement Monday, April 18, that Danielle Dauphinais was charged with first-degree murder “for purposely causing the death of Elijah Lewis,” one count of second-degree murder for “causing the death of Elijah Lewis recklessly with extreme indifference to the value of human life,” and three counts of tampering with witnesses.

Merrimack Police said they started investigating Elijah’s disappearance in October 2021. He was reportedly last seen by “independent individuals” six months prior, and Merrimack Police opened an investigation with help from the New Hampshire State Police and New Hampshire Department of Justice.

Dauphinais and her boyfriend, Joseph Stapf, were arrested Oct. 17, 2021, in the Bronx, New York, on charges of witness tampering and child endangerment, according to the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office. The statement says Dauphinais and Stapf allegedly “each asked other people to lie about Elijah and where he was living knowing that child protection service workers were searching for Elijah.”

On Oct. 23, 2021, law enforcement officials found a body in Abingdon, Massachusetts, in a wooded area, and the remains were later identified as Elijah’s. The New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office said the autopsy showed Elijah died from “violence and neglect.” He reportedly had facial and scalp injuries, acute fentanyl intoxication, malnourishment, and pressure ulcers.

The office of the chief medical examiner in Massachusetts declared the little boy’s death a homicide.

Dauphinais is being held without bail.


Danielle Dauphinais Indicted for First Degree Murder and Other Crimes Related to the September 2021 Murder of Elijah Lewis – New Hampshire Attorney GeneralArrests made in New York City in Investigation Searching for Missing Elijah Lewis of Merrimack, New Hampshire, 10/18/2021 – New Hampshire Attorney GeneralDiscovery of Body in Abington, Massachusetts – Believed to be Elijah Lewis from Merrimack, New Hampshire, 10/23/2021 – New Hampshire Attorney GeneralAutopsy Results for Elijah Lewis, 11/22/2021 – New Hampshire Attorney GeneralMissing Child, 10/16/2021 – Merrimack Police Department