A New Hampshire woman who is suspected of murdering her son and attempting to enlist the help of others to lie to officials about his whereabouts has now been formally indicted.
According to Law & Crime, Danielle Dauphinais, 35, has been indicted on multiple charges in connection with the suspected killing of her son, Elijah Lewis, who was just five-years-old, according to the New Hampshire Department of Justice.
“On April 15, 2022, the Hillsborough County Grand Jury – Southern District returned indictments charging Danielle Dauphinais 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,” a press release from Attorney General John M. Formella went on to explain.
The remains of five-year-old Elijah Lewis were discovered in October of 2021 in a wooded area located off of a Massachusetts road after a harrowing 10-day search.
Officials have determined that the young boy died as a result of “violence and neglect, including facial and scalp injuries, acute fentanyl intoxication, malnourishment, and pressure ulcers.”
"*" indicates required fields
What kind of sick and twisted people would do something like this to a little boy? You have to be a totally depraved monster to be so cruel to a child. Unbelievable that this sort of thing happens today.
Here are more details from the Law & Crime story:
Dauphinais and her boyfriend, Joseph Stapf, 30, were arrested in New York as the search for Elijah was underway.
According to court documents, Dauphinais “did recklessly cause the death of Elijah Lewis, under circumstances manifesting an extreme indifference to the value of human life” at some point between Sept. 27, 2020 and Sept. 24, 2021.
“Danielle Dauphinais manifested exceptional cruelty or depravity in inflicting death on Elijah Lewis,” the indictment stated.
Dauphinais also allegedly tried to get family members, including her aunt, and others to lie to investigators about Elijah and his possible location.
On Oct. 14 Dauphinais “did purposely attempt to induce or otherwise cause Tracy Dauphinais to testify or inform falsely” by instructing Tracy to tell investigators that Elijah was with her, “when in fact he was not,” the indictment says. On that same day, Dauphinais allegedly “did purposely attempt or induce or otherwise cause Joanne Stapf to withhold any testimony, information, document or thing” by telling her not to talk to child protective services about Elijah.
Also on the date of October 14, Dauphinais allegedly told Bruce Scherzer, who is a family friend that is also known by the name Bruce Rolland, to lie to folks from child protective services and inform them that Elijah “was with him, when in fact he was not.”
While the indictment does not specific the relationship Joanne Stapf has with Joseph Stapf, local news outlets have identified the woman as his mother.
“According to a Boston Globe report published about one month after Dauphinais and Stapf were arrested, Dauphinais had texted an acquaintance that she wanted Elijah ‘gone’ and compared him to serial killers such as Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer,” the report revealed.
“It’s so sad but I have no connection with this child,” Dauphinais reportedly stated in a text to Erika Wolfe in June of 2021. “His father took him at the age of one and never returned him until last may 2020. He’s been getting worse and worse. I want him gone. I can’t handle it anymore.”
Wolfe then revealed that Dauphinais started to repeatedly message her in response to a Snapchat post in which Wolfe discussed her teenage boy’s behavioral problems. Apparently, Wolfe and Dauphinais had known one another when they were teenagers, but had not seen each other in many years, Wolfe went on tell the Globe.
“Wolfe said that she had forgotten about the text exchange until October, when Elijah’s disappearance started making headlines. She told the Globe that while she was surprised by some of the comments, she thought Dauphinais was just venting her frustrations. She also said that she thought the state’s child protection agency had been checking in on Dauphinais and Elijah,” the report concluded.