Missing boy’s mother, man, plead not guilty to charges

October 20, 2021 GMT

NASHUA, N.H. (AP) — The mother of a missing 5-year-old New Hampshire boy and a man who was arrested with her in New York pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to witness tampering and child endangerment charges as authorities continue to search for the child.

Meanwhile, investigators now believe that the boy, Elijah Lewis, was last seen at his home in Merrimack sometime within the last 30 days, the attorney general’s office said. The office initially said Elijah was last seen about six months ago. Investigators have searched the area by helicopter and a nearby lake by boat.

Elijah’s mother, Danielle Dauphinais, 35, and Joseph Stapf, 30, appeared for their arraignments from jail via video. They will remain in custody and plan to meet with their lawyers to discuss bail hearings.

Outside the Hillsborough County courthouse, Dauphinais’ two brothers made a public plea to her to “come forward” and “say something” to investigators about her son’s location.


The New Hampshire Division for Children Youth and Families notified police on Oct. 14 that Elijah was missing. The agency’s involvement with the boy is unclear.

New York City transit officers located and arrested Dauphinais and Stapf on Sunday in the Bronx.

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 endangerment charges allege that they violated a duty of care, protection or support for Elijah. Court affidavits supporting the charges were sealed.