Mom and boyfriend arrested amid search for long-missing 5-year-old boy

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December 25 2021 12:00 am

The mother of a 5-year-old New Hampshire boy who hasn’t been seen in six months and her boyfriend who was with her were arrested in New York City, CBS Boston reports. The pair were arrested on witness tampering and child endangerment charges, but the search for the child continues, authorities said Monday.

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Elijah LewisNH DOJ

Warrants had been issued for Elijah Lewis’ mother, Danielle Dauphinais, and Joseph Stapf. New York City transit officers located and arrested them Sunday in the Bronx, the New Hampshire attorney general’s office said in a news release.

The witness tampering charges allege that they each asked other people to lie about Elijah and where he was living, knowing that child protection service workers were searching for him, the news release said. The endangerment charge alleges that they violated a duty of care, protection or support for Elijah.

“We’re trying to find Elijah,” Senior Assistant Attorney General Benjamin Agati said Monday. “We hope we’re going to find him in good condition. But I would be less than honest if I didn’t say that the chances of that are not looking great at this point.”

Investigators said the boy’s father does not live in New Hampshire, but is aware of what is happening with the search, CBS Boston reported.

The New Hampshire attorney general’s office said last week that the boy had been reported missing on Oct. 14 but  “was last seen by independent individuals approximately six months ago.”

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Joseph Stapf and Danielle Denise DauphinaisNH DOJ

“There’s an abandoned house on the other side,” said neighbor Steve Jaynes, pointing to the woods. “Then there’s a camp out in back of that with some cabins and stuff.” He said neighbors never saw the boy. “We never saw this little boy, and several of us are just aghast that there was a five-year-old living there.”

Dauphinais and Stapf were scheduled to be arraigned in the Bronx on Monday afternoon. The state of New Hampshire has sought their extradition, the attorney general’s office said.

It wasn’t immediately known if Dauphinais or Stapf had lawyers to speak for them, and phone numbers could not be found for them.

Officials are continuing to search for Elijah and are requesting the public’s assistance in locating him. They searched a lake behind his home in Merrimack over the weekend.

CBS Boston reports investigators had search dogs out Monday, as they moved from the New Hampshire home where the couple lived, to the pond behind it, to some woods across the street.

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