A missing 5-year-old, whose remains were discovered in the woods of Massachusetts, died of homicide caused by neglect, malnourishment, fentanyl poisoning and violence revealed by facial and scalp injuries, according to an autopsy report, NBC News reports.
Elijah Lewis, the New Hampshire boy whose 35-year-old mother Danielle Denise Dauphinais allegedly told a friend she wanted him “gone,” had his autopsy report shared Monday by the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office. Dauphais and her 30-year-old partner Joseph Stapf have not been charged with his murder but are currently in jail and have pleaded not guilty to witness tampering and child endangerment charges following an October New York City arrest, People reports.
The child’s remains were found on Oct. 23 in Abington, Mass. after being discovered by a state police cadaver dog near Ames Nowell State Park, according to Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy Cruz. According to WHDH, the discovery came nine days after the New Hampshire State Department of Children, Youth and Families reported him missing.
“I call him the next Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer,” Dauphinais allegedly wrote to friend Erika Wolfe this summer, the Boston Globe reports. “It’s so sad but I have no connection with this child. 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.”
The mother allegedly told her Snapchat friend that Elijah would play with his feces and that she couldn’t “trust him at all.” She also allegedly told her friend that the state couldn’t help without the consent of Elijah’s father.
“I’ve been provided no information to verify the veracity of these [Snapchat] messages or where they came from,” Dauphinais’s attorney, Jaye Rancourt, explained to People last week. “They very well could have been created by [Wolfe] for all I know. So until there’s documentation that demonstrates that my client actually sent the messages, it’s very hard for me to respond.”
A Merrimack School District official said Elijah was never enrolled in the local school system and neighbors told the Globe that they rarely saw the child outside.
The New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office claimed that the parent and her boyfriend “each asked other people to lie about Elijah and where he was living knowing that child protection service workers were searching for Elijah.”