New Hampshire boy Elijah Lewis died from violence, neglect

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New Hampshire boy Elijah Lewis died from violence, neglect

A 5-year-old boy found dead in Massachusetts had fentanyl in his system and succumbed to “violence and neglect,” authorities said.

The death of Elijah Lewis, of Merrimack, NH, was ruled a homicide, the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office announced Monday.

“The cause of Elijah’s death was determined to be violence and neglect, including facial and scalp injuries, acute fentanyl intoxication, malnourishment and pressure ulcers,” the statement read.

The boy’s mother, Danielle Dauphinais, 35, and her boyfriend, Joseph Stapf, 30, remain held without bail on charges of witness tampering and child endangerment.

The couple was arrested in New York City on Oct. 18 and authorities said they allegedly asked others to lie about Elijah and his whereabouts because they knew child protection workers were searching for him. Both Dauphinais and Stapf have pleaded not guilty, the Boston Globe reported.

Vigil.
An aunt of Elijah Lewis’ brother, MJ Morrison, holds his picture during a vigil.
Dean Shalhoup/The Telegraph via AP

No charges had been filed in connection to Elijah’s death as of Monday, according to the newspaper.

An aunt of Elijah’s 14-year-old brother said she was “sick to her stomach” from the autopsy’s findings.

Danielle Dauphinais.
Elijah Lewis’ mother, Danielle Dauphinais, and her boyfriend were arrested in connection with Elijah’s disappearance and death.
New Hampshire Department of Justice

“I didn’t expect anything [like] this,” MJ Morrison told the Globe. “I was hoping this was an accidental overdose and he got into something [and] they just panicked and didn’t know what to do.”

Authorities began searching for Elijah on Oct. 14 when New Hampshire’s Division for Children, Youth and Families reported him missing to Merrimack police after he was last seen at his home sometime in September. A state police cadaver dog found his remains on Oct. 23 in a wooded area in Abington, about 20 miles south of Boston.

Dauphinais had allegedly called Elijah the “next Ted Bundy” and told a friend “I want him gone” just months before he was found dead.

“I call him the next Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer,” Dauphinais allegedly wrote her friend Erika Wolfe, the Globe reported. “It’s sad but I have no connection with this child.”

Dauphinais allegedly told her friend she was keeping Elijah in his room since she couldn’t “trust him anymore” while claiming he was playing with his own feces and urinating on clothes and beds.

Joseph Stapf.
Danielle Dauphinais and Joseph Stapf are being held without bail.
New Hampshire Department of Justice

“I want him gone,” Dauphinias allegedly wrote. “I can’t handle it anymore.”

Police in New Hampshire called cops in Arizona asking for help locating Elijah’s father, Timothy Lewis, as authorities started searching for the boy. Gilbert police learned Lewis no longer lived there, and how Elijah came to live with Dauphinais in New Hampshire by the spring of 2020 is unclear, the Globe reported.

Lewis had previously claimed Dauphinais was “violent and impulsive” and had a “history of domestic violence and substance abuse,” according to court documents in their 2017 divorce. A parenting plan approved by a court at the time called for Elijah to remain solely in Lewis’ care, according to the Globe.

Attorneys for Dauphinais and Stapf did not return requests for comment Monday, CNN reported. They’re due to appear in court in December.

With Post wires

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