MERRIMACK, N.H. (WHDH) - Officials now say a missing 5-year-old was last seen at his home a month ago instead of six months ago, as the boy’s mother and her boyfriend are facing charges in his disappearance.
Police are still searching for 5-year-old Elijah Lewis, and Danielle Dauphinais, 35, and Joseph Stapf, 30, will be arraigned Wednesday on charges of witness tampering and child endangerment after being arrested in New York over the weekend.
The state Department of Children, Youth and Families reported Elijah missing last week, and officials initially said he had not been seen in six months. Investigators now believe Elijah was last seen at his home sometime within the last 30 days, officials said.
Dauphinais and Stapf are accused of asking other people to lie about Elijah and where he was living, knowing that child protection service workers were searching for the boy, authorities said. They also allegedly violated a duty of care, protection, or support for Elijah.
Elijah, whose last known address was in Merrimack, New Hampshire, was reported missing to police by the Division for Children, Youth, and Families on Thursday.
Dauphinais and Stapf had been living in Stapf’s mother’s home but they had not been seen or heard from until they were taken into custody.
Search crews could be seen in the neighborhood Monday using a helicopter and cadaver dogs to look for Elijah.
“This has been a nightmare,” neighbor Greg Doppstadt said.
Doppstadt said he rarely saw Elijah next door and was not sure if he even lived there.
The boy’s father lives in Arizona and has been in touch with investigators, according to Senior Assistant Attorney General Ben Agati.
“We are hopeful that Elijah will be found safe and sound; that someone will come forward with information on where he is right now. But we have to look at every possibility,” Agati said in a statement.
Anyone with information on Elijah’s whereabouts is asked to contact the Merrimack Police Department’s Crimeline at 603-424-2424 or New Hampshire State Police Communications at 603-223-4381.
This is a developing news story; stay with 7NEWS on-air and online for the latest details.
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