When 5-year-old Elijah Lewis went missing in New Hampshire, his mother Danielle Dauphinais didn’t report his disappearance to authorities for six months.
The boy’s remains were later discovered in a Massachusetts forest in October, some 75 miles from his Merrimack home.
In a disturbing series of text messages obtained by the Boston Globe this week, Dauphinais reportedly complained to a friend that she wanted her 5-year-old son “gone” — just before the boy went missing.
Dauphinais: Elijah Lewis ‘the Next Ted Bundy’
Danielle Dauphinais, 35, and her boyfriend, Joseph Stapf, 30, were arrested last month for witness tampering and child endangerment, after police said they covered up Elijah Lewis’ disappearance and asked family members to lie to authorities about where the boy was living. Both have pleaded not guilty.
Lewis’ remains were discovered only days after his mother’s arrest.
And while no charges have been filed in connection with the boy’s death, the shocking series of text messages obtained by the Globe paint a harrowing picture of the 5-year-old’s final weeks.
The newspaper reported that, on June 22, Danielle Dauphinais responded to childhood friend Erika Wolfe’s Snapchat post about her teenage son’s behavioral issues to commiserate.
“I call him the next Ted Bundy and Jeffery Dahmer,” Dauphinais reportedly wrote of her 5-year-old son. “It’s so sad but I have no connection with this child.”
She continued: “His father took him at the age of one and never returned him until last may 2020. He’s been getting worse and worse. I want him gone. I can’t handle it anymore.”
According to the outlet, Dauphinais and Elijah’s father divorced shortly after the boy’s first birthday. A court ordered in 2017 that the 5-year-old live with his father in Arizona, and that Dauphinais be “blocked” from spending time with the child, the newspaper reported.
It remains unclear why the boy’s father gave Dauphinais custody of their son. The Globe reported that in court filings, the father had previously described his ex-wife as “violent,” “impulsive,” and having “a history of domestic violence and substance abuse.”
Police have said the father is cooperating with the investigation and is not considered a person of interest in Elijah’s death.
Dauphinais reportedly continued her tirade against the 5-year-old as the conversation wore on.
“I have to keep him in his room. I can’t trust him at all,” she said, according to the outlet. In other messages that were not reported in their entirety, the Globe claimed that Dauphinais accused her son of “playing in” his own feces and urinating on beds and clothing.
“It’s been a [expletive] nightmare that I can’t wake up from,” she reportedly wrote to Wolfe, claiming that the state social services department told her she “can’t do [expletive]” without the consent of the boy’s father.
Wolfe told the Globe that she didn’t consider her conversation with Dauphinais suspicious until she started to read reports of the boy’s disappearance. After that, Wolfe said she sent screenshots of the conversation to a relative of Dauphinais’, who said they forwarded the messages to investigators.
Wolfe said she sent the screenshot to the relative on Oct. 16 — just days before Danielle Dauphinais and Joseph Stapf were arrested. But she told the Globe that she hasn’t been questioned by law enforcement about the conversation, as of Monday.
Investigation into 5-Year-Old’s Death Continues
Many of the circumstances surrounding the disappearance and death of Elijah Lewis remain unclear. The Globe reported that a judge has ordered the case records sealed, at least for the duration of the investigation.
The boy’s cause of death has not been determined, but the publicly known facts of his life with Danielle Dauphinais in Merrimack are grim — neighbors told reporters that they didn’t even know a 5-year-old was living at the house, and local school district officials said last week he was never enrolled as a student in the town.