ABINGTON, Mass. (AP) — Authorities believe they’ve found the body of a young boy from New Hampshire who has been missing for about a month.
A state police cadaver dog found a body that’s presumed to be 5-year-old Elijah Lewis buried in the woods in Abington on Saturday, Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy Cruz said. Officials from New Hampshire and Massachusetts held a press conference in front of a Massachusetts State Police command vehicle in Abington, about 20 miles south of Boston.
The search shifted to Abington from New Hampshire this week based on a tip. Cruz and other law enforcement officials shared few details about the case Saturday, but said the appearance and condition of the body lead them to believe it’s Elijah. Cruz said they didn’t want to say anything that would jeopardize getting justice for him.
The chief medical examiner in Massachusetts will do an autopsy Sunday to determine the cause and manner of death.
Elijah was last seen at his home in Merrimack, New Hampshire, sometime within the last 30 days, but was never reported missing prior to state child welfare officials notifying authorities. Searches in the area around his home by helicopter and a nearby lake by boat turned up nothing.
Lewis’ mother and a man were arrested last weekend in New York and pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to witness tampering and child endangerment charges related to the case.
Danielle Dauphinais, 35, and Joseph Stapf, 30, will remain in custody and plan to meet with their lawyers to discuss bail hearings.
The autopsy results will help determine what, if any, additional charges are brought, said Susan Morrell, a senior assistant attorney general in New Hampshire. Multiple agencies from New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Maine helped with the search. The investigation is active and ongoing.
“We’re going to make sure we do everything in our power to get justice,” Cruz said.