She said her son was ‘the next Ted Bundy’ and now she’s been indicted for murder

Concord, New Hampshire: New Hampshire Attorney General John M. Formella announced on Monday, April 18 that 35-year-old Danielle Dauphanais had been indicted by a grand jury on multiple charges connected to the death of her 5-year-old son Elijah Lewis.

 

On Friday, April 15, a grand jury in Hillsborough County returned indictments charging Dauphanais with first-degree murder, second-degree murder and three counts of tampering with witnesses.

 

Dauphanais remains held without bail. Her arraignment had not yet been scheduled at the Hillsborough County Superior Court Southern District in Nashua at the time of the announcement.

 

Elijah was reported missing on October 14, 2021 by the Department of Children Youth and Families and the Merrimack Police Department immediately began a search. Later that same day the New Hampshire State Police and the New Hampshire Department of Justice joined the search.

 

Three days later Dauphanais and her boyfriend, 30-year-old Joseph Staph were located and arrested in the Bronx, New York. They were initially charged with witness tampering and child endangerment.

 

According to a news release from the Senior Assistant Attorney General Benjamin J. Agati at the time, "they each asked other people to lie about Elijah and where he was living knowing that child protection service workers were searching for Elijah."

 

At that time, the search for Elijah remained ongoing.

 

It was not until October 23 that a New Hampshire State Police cadaver dog located Elijah's remains in Ames Nowell State Park in Abington, Massachusetts.

 

"The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Massachusetts has determined that the manner of Elijah's death was homicide," Formella announced in November. "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."

 

After his body was recovered, information was released that revealed disturbing comments made by Dauphinais to Erika Wolfe, a childhood friend, on Snapchat just a few months before he went missing.

 

"I call him the next Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dhamer," Dauphinais is alleged to have told her friend. "It's so sad but I have no connection with this child."

 

"He's been getting worse and worse," she continued. "I want him gone."

[Image credit: Boston Globe
Elijah, the fourth of six children, had been in the custody of his father from the age of one through May 2020 when he began living with her and Staph.

 

"I have to keep him in his room," Dauphinais said. "I can't trust him at all."

 

It was not until later when Wolfe saw reports that Elijah had gone missing that she remembered the messages. She forwarded them to Dauphinais's family who in turn, passed them on to police.

 

Dauphinais's attorney, Jaye Rancourt said at the time, "I have no information that these text messages are from my client. Unless I had documentation verifying from a phone company their authenticity, until that happens, I would contest their validity."

 

According to a motion filed by Staph's attorney on December 7, 2021, his next date in court will take place some time this month.