Elijah Lewis found: Missing New Hampshire 5 year old boy found in woods in Abington as authorities seek to determine cause of death as boy’s mother and her boyfriend plead not guilty to charges of witness tampering and child endangerment.
The body of Elijah Lewis was located in Abington on Saturday after searchers descended upon the area a day earlier, authorities told WCVB.
Sources told the news outlet that the discovery was made after investigators found a cell phone connected to the case in a pond in the Massachusetts town Ayer. The boy’s remains were confirmed via dental records.
According to NBCBoston, the missing child was found buried amid the woods. What led up to the boy’s death and how long he had been in the woods remained unclear. Of note, the boy was found some 70 miles from his last known place of residence in Merrimack where his mother and her boyfriend resided.
Authorities said the boy’s cause of death had yet been determined and could potentially take months pending an autopsy and toxicology reports.
Cause of death unknown
The discovery of the missing boy’s remains follows Elijah’s 35-year-old mother, Danielle Denise Dauphinais, and her boyfriend, Joseph Stapf, 30, being arrested earlier in the week in connection to the boy’s disappearance by New York City transit police.
The two were charged with witness tampering and child endangerment for allegedly telling others to lie about where her son Elijah Lewis was living as child protection services tried to find the missing boy, according to the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office.
The pair have since pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Elijah had been reported missing to the New Hampshire child service and local cops on Oct. 14 despite believed to have at one point having gone missing over six months ago.
Hundreds gathered in Merrimack, NH last night for an emotional vigil in remembrance of 5-year-old Elijah Lewis. He was found dead, buried in the woods in Abington, MA after he disappeared a month ago. The calls for justice are growing louder and this case is far from over #7News pic.twitter.com/zodTUhANXY
— Juliana Mazza (@julianamazzatv) October 25, 2021
Authorities initially believed the missing boy hadn’t been seen in six months. But that timeline was later reduced to about a month, according to WHDH.
The state AG’s office said they are awaiting the autopsy and toxicology test results before considering whether the boy’s mother and her boyfriend will face additional charges.
‘Obviously, a little boy is gone, and no one deserves to die this way,’ Plymouth County District Attorney Tim Cruz said during a press conference.
Cruz told reporters he is ‘confident’ that the person responsible for Lewis’ death will be ‘held accountable’ for their actions.
‘The investigation is very active ongoing, and it’s impossible to say who will be charged or won’t be charged in this matter,’ he said.
‘We will do everything in our power to make sure we get justice for this little boy,’ Cruz added.
Come Sunday night, well wishers and family members attended an emotional vigil for Elijah as they remembered the boy’s memory as they too now seek justice in the boy’s death.