The body of missing 5-year-old Elijah “Eli” Lewis was found Saturday in an Abington state park, hours after officials said they believed the boy was dead.
The boy was last seen at his home in Merrimack, N.H., sometime in the past 30 days, and authorities have arrested his mother, Danielle D. Dauphinais, 35, and her boyfriend, Joseph Stapf, 30 in connection with the case.
The couple face charges including child endangerment and witness tampering. They pleaded not guilty during an arraignment Wednesday in Hillsborough Superior Court and are being held without bail.
Susan G. Morrell, a senior assistant attorney general for New Hampshire, said at an early afternoon press conference that an autopsy will be performed Sunday at the Massachusetts medical examiner’s office and further charges will be determined based on the results.
“Going forward, what will happen is an autopsy will be performed tomorrow here in Massachusetts at the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office,” Morrell said. “And once we have 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.”
Plymouth District Attorney Timothy Cruz indicated at the press conference that few details would be forthcoming yet.
“This once again remains an active and ongoing investigation, it’s just beginning right now, we’re going to turn our efforts to getting justice for this little boy, and I’m not going to say anything at this point that might jeopardize justice for Eli,” Cruz said.
Morrell did say, however, in response to a reporter’s question, that the boy’s body was found by a K-9 in a grave.
“He was found covered in soil and a New Hampshire cadaver dog located the remains in a grave,” she said.
On Friday night, Benjamin J. Agati, a New Hampshire senior assistant attorney general, said officials had received “new information” about the boy during the investigation, but did not offer details.
“We are hopeful that investigators will be able to find more” on Saturday, Agati said.Authorities believe missing 5-year-old NH boy is dead after search in Abington suspended for the night
Earlier in the day Friday, Massachusetts State Police, officers from Abington and Merrimack, the New Hampshire State Police major crimes unit, plus K-9 units and a helicopter were part of a heavy police presence along Chestnut Street in Abington near the state park.
Timothy Cruz, the Plymouth District Attorney, saidFriday they were following up on leads that directed them to a wooded area off the roadway.
Massachusetts State Police also searched an area of Randolph Friday, but found nothing, according to David Procopio, a department spokesman.
On Saturday morning, the state Department of Conservation and Recreation said it was closing Ames Nowell State Park in Abington to accommodate “police activity” in the area of Chestnut Street.Mom accused of encouraging people to lie about whereabouts of missing 5-year-old N.H. boy, prosecutors say
On Wednesday in New Hampshire, prosecutors alleged that Dauphinais prevented social workers from learning Elijah was missing from early September to Oct. 14, when the Division for Children, Youth and Families reported Lewis missing to Merrimack police.
Dauphinais and Stapf were taken into custody in New York City last Sunday, and both agreed to return to New Hampshire to face charges.
The pair told one woman, Joanne Stapf, to not talk to a child protective social worker about the boy, according to court records. It was not said whether Joanne was related to Joseph Stapf.
Joseph Stapf is accused of endangering the boy by not reporting him as missing.
Dauphinais was alleged to have pressed two additional people — Bruce Scherzer and Tracy Lyn Dauphinais — to lie to social workers and claim Lewis was with them. It was not known whether Tracy Lyn was related to Danielle Dauphinais.
Globe correspondent Jeremy C. Fox, and John R. Ellement and Travis Andersen of the Globe staff contributed to this report.
Source : https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/crime/body-of-missing-nh-boy-found-buried-in-abington-state-park/ar-AAPS6NB791