Mother of Missing 5-Year-Old NH Boy Pleads Not Guilty
The mother of a boy missing for 6 months before anyone reported him and a man she was traveling with both pled not guilty to charges of witness tampering and child endangerment.
Elijah "Eli" Lewis was reported missing to the state Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) on Thursday. A search was started immediately for the boy, his mother Danielle Denise Dauphinais, 35, and Joseph Stapf, 30. Investigators believe Lewis was last seen at the home on Sunset Drive in Merrimack within the past 30 days.
Dauphinais and Staph were arrested in the Bronx on Sunday and extricated to New Hampshire. They were arraigned via video in Hillsborough Superior Court where they were ordered to be held in preventative detention pending another bail hearing.
CBS Boston reported her brothers were outside the courthouse asking her to tell police where her son is.
No Clues as to Elijah Lewis' Location
According to the complaints against Dauphinais and Stapf they were "violating a duty of care" by asking several individuals to tell DCYF representatives Lewis was with them when he was not and by failing to report the boy as missing. The relationships of the individuals named in the complaints to Dauphinais and Stapf was not disclosed.
One of those named in the complaint was Joseph Stapf's mother Joanne Stapf who is te owner of the home on Sunset Drive where they lived. Police have been searching a lake in the back of the house.
The complaints did not shed any light on where Lewis has been for the past several month. A friend named MJ told CBS Boston that Dauphinais told her in January that Lewis went to live with a family member in California.
MJ also told CBS Boston that Dauphinais was the mother of six children including a newborn she delivered in the past two weeks. MJ said DCYF became involved when the newborn was "dropped off" at the hospital. They went to her home and wanted to check on Lewis and a sister but both were not at the house, according to the CBS Boston report.
Police asked anyone with information to call the Merrimack Police Department’s Crimeline at 603-424-2424 or New Hampshire State Police Communications at 603-223-4381 or 603-MCU-TIPS (603-628-8477).
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNH