Watch CBS News

Family Friend: Mother Of Missing NH Boy Elijah Lewis Said He Was Going To Live With Family In California

MERRIMACK, N.H (CBS) -- Investigators have been desperately searching for five-year-old Elijah Lewis in the lake and woods around his home on Sunset Drive in Merrimack, New Hampshire. Social workers reported him missing last week and initially believed he had not been seen for six months.

On Tuesday afternoon, investigators said they now believe Elijah has been seen at his home within the last 30 days.

Elijah's mother Danielle Dauphinais and her boyfriend Joseph Stapf are being brought back to New Hampshire Tuesday to face felony charges. They were arrested in New York City Sunday on charges related to the search.

"I never imagined this would be something I would be sitting here talking about right now," said MJ, who grew up with Elijah's mother.

She gets emotional, wondering what happened to the five-year-old boy, "a happy, energetic, silly boy."

Elijah Lewis
5-year-old Elijah Lewis of Merrimack, NH (Image credit NH DOJ)

MJ is also the biological aunt to Dauphinais's oldest son.

"She is like a sister to me since I was very young."

But MJ told WBZ-TV Tuesday she hasn't heard from Dauphinais since January when Dauphinais told her that Elijah would be going to live with a family member in California.

"Danielle had stated she couldn't provide care for him due to behavioral problems that he was having," MJ said.

Last week, New Hampshire social workers went to the home on Sunset Drive where Dauphinais had been living and realized the boy was missing.

"From what I know this all started due to complications with the new baby that Danielle had within the last two weeks," said MJ. "We're told there was a DCYF case that had opened due to the baby being dropped off at the hospital. At this time they had showed up to the house and asked to check on her youngest daughter and Elijah and Elijah was not at the home."

Danielle Denise Dauphinais
Joseph Stapf and Danielle Denise Dauphinais (Image credit NH DOJ)

Dauphinais and Stapf were arrested in the Bronx Sunday. They are now facing child endangerment and witness tampering charges out of Hillsborough County Superior Court. They will be arraigned on Wednesday.

"Each of them has asked other people to lie about Elijah and his whereabouts knowing that child protective service workers were trying to find Elijah," said Senior Assistant Attorney General Benjamin Agati.

MJ is desperate to find Elijah and has a message for his mother: "Danielle if you know anything which I know you do, you need to tell us where Eli is."

According to MJ, Dauphinais has six children. Authorities say all others are accounted for and safe.

Anyone with information about Elijah's whereabouts is asked to call Merrimack Police or New Hampshire State Police.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.