Homicide: ‘Violence and neglect,’ fentanyl intoxication, cited as cause of death for Elijah Lewis, 5

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Elijah Lewis. Photo taken May of 2020. Via NHSP

CONCORD, NH – Autopsy results for Elijah Lewis, 5, who had been missing from Merrimack for several weeks before his remains were discovered in Massachusetts, are complete. His death has been ruled homicide.

The cause of Elijah’s death was determined to be violence and neglect, including facial and scalp injuries, acute fentanyl intoxication, malnourishment and pressure ulcers, according to results of the autopsy, conducted by the Chief Medical Examiner’s office in Massachusetts.

Elijah’s mother, Danielle Denise Dauphinais, 35, and her boyfriend, Joseph Stapf, 30, remain held without bail on charges of witness tampering and child endangerment.  The charges against Dauphinais and Stapf are merely accusations, and they are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

As previously reported, Elijah’s unknown whereabouts were brought to the attention of authorities by DCYF on Thursday, October 14, 2021.  The Merrimack Police Department immediately began an investigation and was assisted later that day by the New Hampshire State Police and the New Hampshire Department of Justice.  Elijah had not been reported missing to authorities prior to this time.

The investigation into Elijah’s death remains active and ongoing.

Anyone with information about Elijah’s death is asked to contact the Merrimack Police Department’s Crimeline at (603) 424-2424 or New Hampshire State Police Communications at (603) 223-4381 or 603-MCU-TIPS (603-628-8477).  Lead Investigator Detective Sergeant Kelly Healey, Major Crime Unit, can be contacted directly at Kelly.A.Healey@dos.nh.gov.