Police believe they found the body of a New Hampshire boy who went missing over a month ago
The boy's body was found in Ames Nowell State Park in Abington
(CNN) — Authorities in Massachusetts say they believe they found the body of Elijah Lewis, a 5-year-old New Hampshire boy who was last seen in Merrimack, New Hampshire over a month ago.
The boy’s body was found on Saturday morning in Ames Nowell State Park in Abington, about 20 miles southeast of Boston, Plymouth County District Attorney Tim Cruz said during a press conference on Saturday.
A state police cadaver dog discovered Elijah’s soil-covered body in what investigators referred to as a grave, according to New Hampshire Senior Assistant Attorney General Susan Morrell.
“We are very saddened about this situation — about Elijah’s death — the fact that he was disposed of down here in the woods,” Morrell said. “Our sympathies go out to his family and friends of the family, and to the community who’s mourning his death.”
After interviewing several witnesses, Morrell told CNN affiliate WMUR last week investigators believe they narrowed down the time frame Elijah went missing back to September 1.
Merrimack Police began an investigation into Elijah’s disappearance October 14, according to a statement from the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office. He was never reported missing to authorities prior to that time, the statement read.
Elijah’s mother, Danielle Dauphinais, 35, and her boyfriend, Joseph Stapf, 30, were arrested on charges of child endangerment and witness tampering three days later on October 17, according to the attorney general.
Witness tampering charges against Dauphinais and Stapf stem from evidence showing the pair allegedly asked people to lie about Elijah’s whereabouts and where he was living, knowing child protection services were searching for the boy, the AG’s statement reads.
The Massachusetts Chief Medical Examiner’s Office is expected to perform an autopsy on Elijah’s body on Sunday, Morrell told reporters.
“Once we have a determination of cause and manner of death, we’ll be examining all of our facts that we’ve gathered in the investigation and determining what, if any, further charges will be brought,” Morrell said.
CNN has reached out to Dauphinais and Stapf for comment, and contacted the New Hampshire Attorney General’s office to determine if they have retained legal representation.
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