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Mother of missing New Hampshire boy, 5, arrested in NYC after he was last seen alive SIX months ago


The mother of a missing New Hampshire five -year-old, along with her boyfriend,  were arrested in the Bronx on Sunday.

Danielle Denise Dauphinais, 35, and her boyfriend 30-year-old Joseph Stapf, 30, are charged with child endangerment and witness tampering over the disappearance of Elijah Lewis, 5, who hasn’t been seen by family or friends in six months.

Officials say neither Dauphinais nor Stapf reported Elijah as missing.

The couple were arrested in the area of Westchester Avenue and Brucker Avenue at approximately 7.13am on Sunday, according to the New York Police Department. 

The NYPD would not disclose to DailyMail.com how they became aware that the New Hampshire fugitives were in New York City.

An arrest warrant was issued after New Hampshire Division of Youth and Families reported the boy missing on Thursday.

Five-year-old Elijah Lewis of Merrimack (pictured) was last seen by ‘independent individuals’ six months ago, according to the New Hampshire Attorney General’s office – the New Hampshire Division of Youth and Families reported the boy missing on Thursday

Danielle Denise Dauphinais, 35

Joseph Stapf, 30

Danielle Denise Dauphinais, 35, and her boyfriend Joseph Stapf, 30, were arrested in the area of Westchester Avenue and Brucker Avenue at approximately 7.13 am on Sunday, according to the New York Police Department

Knowing that Child Protective Services was searching for the boy, the couple allegedly instructed others to lie about his whereabouts, according to the New Hampshire Attorney General’s office. 

In their arrest warrant, the office alleges that ‘they violated a duty of care, protection or support’ for the five-year-old.

In Merrimack on Sunday, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Dive Team took several boats of divers to look for the missing boy in Naticook Lake, which is adjacent to the home where the boy lived on 7 Sunset Drive, according to Patch

The day before, the outlet said, a police dog was brought to the lake in an attempt to sniff the boy out. 

New Hampshire State Police took several items from the home, which is currently surrounded with yellow police tape,  and police could be seen digging in the home’s backyard near a shed. 

‘At this point, we’re hoping it’s not a recovery mission,’ New Hampshire Senior Assistant Attorney General Ben Agati said on Monday. 

‘We’re hoping somehow that we are going to go under a rock somewhere and find out that someone has taken him in, maybe there is some sort of mistaken identity that’s going on out there or he’s been misidentified. But right now, we are fearful that may be the direction we are headed.’

 ‘Right now, the goal is to find Elijah and ensure he’s safe,’ Agati told WBZ-TV on Saturday before investigators located Dauphinais and Stapf. 

‘At this point, we are hoping to find Elijah alive and somewhere.’ 

Authorities said they do not believe this is a situation where the child ran away from home, according to WMUR.

 ‘Our search is physically in that area for evidence of where Elijah is, but also we are searching throughout New England to try and find where he is,’ Agati said.

DailyMail.com could not reach Agati or the New Hampshire District Attorney’s office for comment before press time. 

New Hampshire State Police took several items from the home on 7 Sunset Drive, the last known residence of missing child Elijah Lewis (pictured) which is currently surrounded with yellow police tape, and police could be seen digging in the backyard near a shed

New Hampshire State Police took several items from the home on 7 Sunset Drive, the last known residence of missing child Elijah Lewis (pictured) which is currently surrounded with yellow police tape, and police could be seen digging in the backyard near a shed

Authorities said Danielle Denise Dauphinais (pictured) and Joseph Stapf instructed others to lie about their Elijah Lewis' whereabouts. He was last seen six months ago

Authorities said Danielle Denise Dauphinais (pictured) and Joseph Stapf instructed others to lie about their Elijah Lewis’ whereabouts. He was last seen six months ago

'Right now, the goal is to find Elijah and ensure he’s safe,' New Hampshire Senior Assistant Attorney General Ben Agati told WBZ-TV on Saturday before investigators located Dauphinais and Stapf (pictured together)

'Right now, the goal is to find Elijah and ensure he’s safe,' New Hampshire Senior Assistant Attorney General Ben Agati told WBZ-TV on Saturday before investigators located Dauphinais and Stapf (pictured together)

The NYPD would not disclose to DailyMail.com how they became aware that the New Hampshire fugitives, Danielle Denise Dauphinais and her boyfriend Joseph Stapf (pictured), were in New York City

Dauphinais and Stapf (pictured together) were arraigned on Monday afternoon in the Bronx County Criminal Court. They will be extradited to New Hampshire, according to the NYPD

Before they were discovered in New York, authorities in New Hampshire implored the public to help them find the couple and reported that Dauphinais was last seen driving a red 2007 Toyota Tundra with New Hampshire plates JOJOD78.

‘At this point, their location is unknown. The one message we have for them if they are out there, please call Merrimack police. Please call New Hampshire State Police,’ Agati said on Saturday.

‘We need to talk to you about where is Elijah and we need that information as soon as possible.’

An AMBER Alert wasn’t issued when the five-year-old was reported missing on Thursday: Agait said ‘Amber Alerts need to be utilized in a proper way.’ 

‘This is one where it’s much better for us to get the word out, get photographs out and disseminate the information that way.’

Dauphinais and Stapf were arraigned on Monday afternoon in the Bronx County Criminal Court. They will be extradited to New Hampshire, according to the NYPD. 



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