MERRIMACK, New Hampshire — The mother of a 5-year-old New Hampshire boy who was found dead in Massachusetts last fall has been charged with murder, authorities said Monday.
Danielle Dauphinais, 35, was indicted Friday on one count of first-degree murder alleging she purposely caused the death of Elijah Lewis, one count of second-degree murder alleging she acted recklessly in causing his death and three counts of witness tampering.
Child welfare officials notified police that the boy was missing Oct. 14. After a state police dog found his body in the woods in Abington, Massachusetts, on Oct. 23, an autopsy showed he died of “violence and neglect.”
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Massachusetts determined the boy suffered “facial and scalp injuries, acute fentanyl intoxication, malnourishment and pressure ulcers.”
Dauphinais is accused of killing her son sometime between Sept. 27, 2020, and Sept. 24, 2021, according to the indictments. She also is accused of telling two people to lie and say the boy was with them in October and telling a third not to talk to investigators.
Dauphinais was later arrested in New York, and she and the man she was with, 30-year-old Joseph Stapf, were charged with witness tampering and child endangerment.
Her attorney did not immediately return a call seeking comment Monday.