Timeline: The case of Elijah Lewis, the N.H. boy allegedly murdered by his mother

Danielle Dauphinais, 35, was charged Monday with first degree murder.

Elijah Lewis. Family photo / New Hampshire Attorney General's Office via AP

On Monday, authorities in New Hampshire charged the mother of Elijah “Eli” Lewis, the 5-year-old Merrimack boy whose body was found buried in the woods in Abington last fall, with the murder of her son.

The new charges against Danielle Dauphinais, 35, are the latest development in a case that stretches back to at least September, when Lewis, who officials say died of “violence and neglect,” is believed to have been last seen alive.

Dauphinais was initially arrested in October and pleaded not guilty to witness tampering and child endangerment charges.

But the latest slew of allegations indicate investigators believe Lewis died at the hands of his mother.


Here’s a timeline of the case so far:

Oct. 14, 2021: Elijah is reported missing.

The New Hampshire Division for Children Youth and Families becomes aware of Elijah’s disappearance, spurring an investigation by the Merrimack Police Department, New Hampshire State Police, and the New Hampshire Department of Justice.

The New Hampshire Attorney General’s office says Elijah was last seen by “independent individuals” approximately six months before.

Elijah had not been reported missing before this point in time.

Oct. 16, 2021: Investigators ask for the public’s help.

Danielle Dauphinais and Joseph Stapf. – Handout

Authorities announce Elijah’s disappearance and call on the public for help finding him.

Officials say they want to speak with Dauphinais, who may be in the company of Joseph Stapf, 30, and provide descriptions of both as well as a 2007 Toyota Tundra the couple is believed to be driving.

Oct. 17, 2021: Police search a lake where Elijah was seen.

Police search a lake behind a property in Merrimack that was the last known place where Elijah was seen.

Oct. 18, 2021: Dauphinais and Stapf are arrested in New York City.

Dauphinais and Stapf are arrested in New York City on charges of witness tampering and child endangerment while the search for Elijah continues.

“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 Elijah,” the authorities said in a statement. “The endangerment charge alleges that they violated a duty of care, protection or support for Elijah.”

Oct. 20, 2021: Dauphinais and Stapf plead not guilty.

Both Dauphinais and Stapf plead not guilty during their initial court appearances.


Investigators say they believe Elijah was actually seen at his home in Merrimack sometime within the previous 30 days. Search efforts at this point have included a helicopter flyover of the area and the lake probe.

Oct. 22, 2021: Authorities move their search to Massachusetts.

The search for Elijah shifts to Massachusetts. The New Hampshire Attorney General says investigators are searching an area in Abington, approximately 20 miles south of Boston.

K-9 units and other specialized law enforcement search a heavily wooded part of Ames Nowell State Park and an area in nearby Randolph. The search is suspended later that night.

Oct. 23, 2021: Investigators announce they have found Elijah’s body.

Officials announced they found the body of a boy, later confirmed to be Elijah.

A cadaver dog found the body buried in the woods in Abington off of Chestnut street.

Oct. 24, 2021: The medical examiner confirms the remains found were those of Elijah.

Massachusetts’ chief medical examiner performs an autopsy on the body discovered in Abington and determines the remains were those of Elijah.

Family members hold a candlelight vigil in Merrimack to honor Elijah.

Nov. 22, 2021: Autopsy results say Elijah died of ‘violence and neglect’ and rules his death a homicide.

The autopsy results, released in November, state Elijah died of “violence and neglect” and his death is a homicide.

Elijah suffered “facial and scalp injuries, acute fentanyl intoxication, malnourishment, and pressure ulcers,” the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Massachusetts found.

Further details of Elijah’s final days come out in a Boston Globe report published in December in which medical experts analyze the autopsy report. The Globe‘s report says the sores Elijah suffered “were something you’d see on someone…held in restraints.”


“The malnourishment hinted at weeks, if not months, without adequate food,” the report reads. “And then there was the trauma to the head.”

Alice W. Newton, medical director of the Child Protection Program at Massachusetts General Hospital tells the newspaper, “It’s more than just…minor medical neglect.”

“It would fall into the category of torture, really.”

April 18, 2022: Dauphinais is charged with murder.

Dauphinais was charged on Monday with one count of first degree murder for purposely causing the death of Elijah Lewis; one count of second degree murder for causing the death of Elijah Lewis recklessly with extreme indifference to the value of human life; and three counts of tampering with witnesses, officials said.

She remains held without bail and an arraignment was slated to be held in Hillsborough County Superior Court, Southern District, in Nashua.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.


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