Remains found in a wooded area in Abington, Mass., on Saturday are believed to belong to missing 5-year-old Elijah Lewis, according to Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy Cruz.
A New Hampshire State Police cadaver dog discovered the child’s remains buried in a grave under soil near Ames Nowell State Park, Cruz said at a news conference, per WCBV-TV.
An autopsy will be performed to determine the cause of death of the New Hampshire boy as police continue to investigate the incident. No charges have been filed in relation to Lewis’ death so far.
“Obviously a little boy is gone,” Cruz told reporters. “Nobody deserved to die this way, and we need to make sure we do everything in our power to make sure we can get justice for this little boy.”
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“We are very saddened about this situation, about Elijah’s death, and the fact that he was disposed of down here in the woods,” said New Hampshire Senior Assistant Attorney General Susan Morrell. “Our sympathies go out to his family, and friends of the family, and to the community who is mourning his death.”
Police had been searching the woods for Lewis, who was reported missing last week by the New Hampshire State Department of Children, Youth and Families, WHDH reports.
Investigators announced Tuesday that they believe the boy, whose last known address was in Merrimack, N.H., was last seen at his home sometime within the last 30 days, according to the outlet. It was previously reported he hadn’t been seen in six months.
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Cruz said Saturday that his office was contacted Thursday regarding credible information that led to a wooded area off of Chestnut Street near Ames Nowell State Park. The remains were found on Saturday.
Lewis’ mother, Danielle Dauphinais, and her boyfriend, Joseph Stapf, were arrested on Sunday in New York City on warrants for witness tampering and child endangerment. According to WHDH, authorities said that the couple is accused of asking individuals to lie about Lewis and his living situation after learning that child protection service workers were looking for the child.
The couple is expected to face a Bronx County judge on Monday, per the report, and they will be returned to New Hampshire for arraignment in Hillsborough County Superior Court.
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“Our thoughts are with Eli’s family and the entire Merrimack community,” Massachusetts State Police Colonel Christopher Mason said at Saturday’s news conference. “I’m glad and relieved that we were able to bring some closure to this part of the ongoing investigation and, most importantly, help bring Eli home with some dignity.”
Cruz told reporters he is “confident” that the person responsible for Lewis’ death will be “held accountable” for their actions.
“The investigation is very active ongoing, and it’s impossible to say who will be charged or won’t be charged in this matter,” he said.Internet Explorer Channel Network