Elijah “Eli” Lewis, 5, of Merrimack, New Hampshire, United States is still missing. He is the son of Danielle Denise Dauphinais, 35.
Lewis was reported missing by the New Hampshire Division for Children Youth and Families on October 14, 2021. On the same day, the Merrimack Police Department started an investigation and was assisted by the New Hampshire State Police and the New Hampshire Department of Justice.
On October 16, 2021, New Hampshire State Police Marine Patrol unit launched a boat that searched Naticook Lake, whish sits directly behind a home on Sunset Drive in Merrimack. The residence was Lewis’s last known location, according to the New Hampshire State Police.
However, Amber Alert was not issued. The situation did not meet the criteria, New Hampshire assistant attorney general Ben Agati told WMUR.
“Amber Alerts need to be utilized in a proper way,” Agati explained. “This is one where it’s much better for us to get the word out, get photographs out and disseminate the information that way.”
Family and friends had not seen Lewis for six months, according to Dauphinais and Joseph Stapf, 30, who is not the boy’s father. However, neither Dauphinais nor Stapf reported the boy missing before October 14, 2021.
Lewis’s father does not live in New Hampshire and is aware of the disappearance of his son. When New Hampshire authorities issued a bulletin looking for Lewis, Dauphinais and Stapf allegedly asked people to lie about where her son was living because they knew child protection service workers were looking for the boy.
On October 17, 2021, New York City Transit Authority officers arrested Dauphinais and Stapf in the Bronx, New York City, New York, USA. They were accused of violating a duty of care, protection or support for Lewis and were each charged with witness tampering and child endangerment.