Mom Of Six Charged In Death of Five-Year-Old Son Whom She Called 'The Next Ted Bundy'

Police say New Hampshire mother Danielle Dauphinais killed her son, Elijah Lewis, last October.

April 21, 2022
Danielle Dauphinais and her boyfriend, Joseph Stapf, [inset] were arrested on Oct. 17, 2021, and charged with witness tampering and child endangerment of Dauphinais's son, Elijah Lewis [main].

Police say New Hampshire mother Danielle Dauphinais killed her son, Elijah Lewis, in October 2021.

Photo by: New Hampshire Department of Justice

New Hampshire Department of Justice

A New Hampshire woman jailed in connection with the death of her five-year-old son has now been formally charged with his murder following a grand jury indictment on April 15, 2022.

The child, Elijah Lewis, was found dead in a park near Abington, Mass., south of Boston, on Oct. 23, 2021. His body was recovered from a shallow grave after authorities used a cadaver dog during their frenzied search for Lewis, who had been reported missing by the New Hampshire State Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) on October 14.

At the time, DCYF believed the child had been missing for six months. That timeline was later narrowed to one month.

It was unclear how New Hampshire authorities made the determination that Lewis was missing, according to the Boston Globe.

Dauphinais, 35, and her boyfriend, Joseph Stapf, 30, were arrested in New York City on Oct. 17, 2021, and charged with witness tampering and child endangerment after the New Hampshire DCYF alleged that the pair were instructing friends and acquaintances to lie for them if anybody asked about the child’s whereabouts, according to the New Hampshire Department of Justice.

‘The Next Ted Bundy’

Dauphinais had been complaining to a friend about Lewis, the fourth of her six children, several months prior to his death, the Boston Globe reported.

In that exchange, she told her friend that the little boy’s behavior was “unmanageable” and that she thought of him as “the next Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer,” a reference to notorious serial killers.

Lewis had only been living with Dauphinais and Stapf in New Hampshire since May 2020. Dauphinais and Lewis’s father reportedly divorced just after the child’s first birthday, and he had been in Arizona with his father since then. It is unclear why the child had been sent to his mother in New Hampshire.

‘Violence and Neglect’

Lewis’s autopsy results were released a few weeks after his death. The report noted that he had been the victim of violence and neglect and ruled his death a homicide. The autopsy noted the boy was malnourished and suffering from “acute fentanyl intoxication” when he died, and he had extensive face and scalp injuries as well as sores on his body, indicating he may have been held in restraints.

Dauphinais was indicted on April 15 and charged with one count of first degree murder for purposely causing the death of Elijah Lewis; one count of second degree murder for causing the death of Elijah Lewis recklessly with extreme indifference to the value of human life; and three counts of tampering with witnesses.

She remains in jail without bond.

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