A body found in the Massachusetts woods is believed to be that of a missing 5-year-old boy

Elijah lewis
Massachusetts authorities said Saturday they believe they’ve found the remains of 5-year-old Elijah Lewis. New Hampshire Department of Justice
  • A cadaver dog discovered what are believed to be the remains of the missing 5-year-old Elijah Lewis.
  • New Hampshire child welfare workers reported the child missing on October 14.
  • Elijah’s mother and her boyfriend were arrested days later and accused of asking people to lie about Elijah’s whereabouts.

Massachusetts authorities said Saturday they recovered a body believed to be that of the missing 5-year-old New Hampshire boy Elijah Lewis.

A cadaver dog found the body buried in the soil after a trooper entered a wooded area around 9:40 a.m. and noticed that the “ground was disturbed,” according to a statement and a news conference from the Plymouth County District Attorney, Timothy Cruz.

Elijah was reported missing on October 14 by New Hampshire’s Division for Children, Youth and Families, and had last been seen within 30 days prior to that date, prosecutors said. By October 18, authorities had arrested Elijah’s mother and her boyfriend in New York City.

Danielle Dauphinais, 35, and Joseph Stapf, 30, have both been charged with witness tampering and child endangerment. New Hampshire prosecutors said in a statement that Dauphinais and Stapf both asked people to lie about Elijah, “knowing that child protection service workers were searching for Elijah.”

Two of Dauphinais’ brothers told NBC Boston their sister has six children, but that they had been concerned specifically for Elijah. They said there had been plans to send the boy to live with another one of their siblings in California, but it hadn’t happened yet.

“He’s five years old,” one brother, Randy Stewart, told the news station. “He doesn’t deserve this. He deserves to have a shot.”

According to Massachusetts prosecutors, “corroborated information” led authorities to search wooded areas along Chestnut Street in Abington, Massachusetts, a town just 20 miles (32km) southeast of Boston.

They added that they’re still waiting for confirmation that the body is indeed Elijah’s, but that it’s presumed to be the 5-year-old.

Authorities spent a total of 12 hours in the last two days searching wooded terrain in Abington for Elijah, prosecutors said.

“Obviously, a little boy is gone. Nobody deserves to die this way,” Cruz said. “We’re going to make sure we do everything in our power to make sure we get justice for this little boy.”