Mom and boyfriend arrested after death of 5-year-old Elijah Lewis ruled homicide – autopsy shows violence and neglect

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BOSTON, MA- On Monday, November 22nd, authorities announced that the death of 5-year-old Elijah Lewis has been ruled a homicide.

The young boy from was from New Hampshire and was reported missing before his body was found in Massachusetts. New Hampshire’s Attorney General, John Formella said that Lewis died from “violence and neglect.” 

A release from Formella said that the boy suffered “facial and scalp injuries, acute fentanyl intoxication, malnourishment and pressure ulcers.” The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Massachusetts conducted the autopsy.

Autopsy results were originally inconclusive, but officials said the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner was able to determine that his death was a homicide. Senior Assistant Attorney General Susan Morrell said in a statement:

“Samples were taken at the autopsy and sent out for toxicology and they determined there was a certain level of fentanyl in his system. So, the investigation will be ongoing to determine how he came to ingest the fentanyl.”

Morrell said the results were “shocking and sad,” adding:

“Beyond sad that this child endured so much neglect and violence and that nobody intervened during the time he was being injured.”

Reportedly, Lewis’ body was found in late in October after “credible information” led investigators to a wooded area near Boston. Once there, a cadaver dog found Lewis’ remains “buried in the ground.”

Lewis’ mother, 35-year-old Danielle Dauphinais and her boyfriend, 30-year-old Joseph Staph, remain held without bail on charges of witness tampering and child endangerment. Both charges were brought against them after they were arrested in New York City.

According to the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office, both the mom and boyfriend allegedly asked other people to lie about where the 5-year-old was living, “knowing that child protection service workers were searching for Elijah.” The office added:

“The endangerment charge alleges that they violated a duty of care, protection or support for Elijah.”

The two pleaded not guilty to both charges in a New Hampshire court. NBC News reported that Lewis was reported missing on October 14th by the New Hampshire Division for Youth and Families. His body was discovered buried in the woods near Boston on October 23rd. 

Reacting to the autopsy results, Elijah’s uncle, Randy Stewart, said in a statement:

“I didn’t think it was this bad, no. I didn’t want it to be this bad. You just kind of hope it was peaceful and not so barbaric, but that’s just not the case.”

Investigators said they believe Elijah had not been seen for about a month before police were alerted that he was missing. According to reports, the boy’s mother texted a friend about his “uncontrollable behavior,” comparing her son to a couple of prolific serial killers. She allegedly wrote:

“I want him gone.”

Four months later, the child’s boy was found in a wooded area near Boston. The haunting text message was shared with The Boston Globe by her childhood friend, Erika Wolfe. Wolfe said she and Dauphinais had not spoken in years, Dauphinais reached out over Snapchat to commiserate over a post Wolfe had made about her teenager’s attitude. Dauphinais wrote:

“I call him the next Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer. It’s so sad, but I have no connection with this child.”

The fourth of her six children, Elijah had been living with Dauphinais since May 2020. She told Wolfe that she had been keeping the boy in his room as she “couldn’t trust him anymore.” Elijah’s father reportedly sent his son to live with Dauphinais for unclear reasons.

However, in court records cited by the Globe, he had previously called his ex-wife “violent and impulsive” with a “history of domestic violence and substance abuse.” In 2017, an Arizona court ordered Elijah to remain solely in his father’s custody and banned Dauphinais from spending time with him.

As of this writing, no one has yet been charged with causing Elijah’s death. Prosecutors previously said they would wait for the autopsy results before proceeding with charges. The investigation into Elijah’s death remains ongoing.

Editor note: In 2020, we saw a nationwide push to “defund the police”.  While we all stood here shaking our heads wondering if these people were serious… they cut billions of dollars in funding for police officers. 

And as a result, crime has skyrocketed – all while the same politicians who said “you don’t need guns, the government will protect you” continued their attacks on both our police officers and our Second Amendment rights.

And that’s exactly why we’re launching this national crowdfunding campaign as part of our efforts to help “re-fund the police”.

For those looking for a quick link to get in the fight and support the cause, click here.

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Unsung heroes: U.S. Marshals rescue eight missing and endangered children rescued in New Orleans metro area operation

October 21st, 2021

Editor note: In 2020, we saw a nationwide push to “defund the police”.  While we all stood here shaking our heads wondering if these people were serious… they cut billions of dollars in funding for police officers.  And as a result, crime has skyrocketed – all while the same politicians who said “you don’t need guns, the government will protect you” continued their attacks on both our police officers and our Second Amendment rights.

And that’s exactly why we’re launching this national crowdfunding campaign as part of our efforts to help “re-fund the police”.

For those looking for a quick link to get in the fight and support the cause, click here.

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Over the course of two months, the U.S. Marshals conducted two operations, ‘Return of the School Year’ and ‘NO Saints and Sinners 2021’, resulting in the rescue of eight children, the U.S. Marshals announced. 

The U.S. Marshals also stated that an additional three children self-returned during the operation and three more were located.

Investigations as part of the two-month operation also reportedly uncovered allegations of human sex trafficking of minors during several of the cases, WDSU reported.

In one of the rescues, U.S. Marshals conducted an investigation that led them to a missing teenaged girl in Phoenix, Arizona. The girl was reportedly on her way to Las Vegas, Nevada to meet with an older man she met online. 

U.S. Marshals say Operation NO Saints and Sinners 2021, a sex offender enforcement and compliance check operation, resulted in the arrests of 18 sex offenders for sex offender registration violations, WDSU reported.

These checks were reportedly done in both Jefferson and Orleans Parishes.

Scott Illing, U.S. Marshal for the Eastern District of Louisiana said in a statement:

“This was another example of the results that can be accomplished with continuing law enforcement teamwork, and I am very proud of the long-term partnerships created by our USMS New Orleans Task Force with other local, state and federal agencies in combating violent crime and recovering missing/endangered children,”

He went on to say:

“Much of this work was also accomplished while dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Ida in the New Orleans metro area.”

Participants in the two operations: “Return of the School Year” and ‘NO Saints and Sinners 2021’ included:

  • U.S. Marshals Service New Orleans Task Force
  • U.S. Marshals Service Districts of Southern Mississippi and Arizona
  • New Orleans Police Department
  • Slidell Police Department
  • Covington Police Department
  • Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office
  • St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office
  • Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office
  • Louisiana State Police
  • FBI New Orleans Field Office
  • Louisiana Department of Child and Family Services

Any information about missing or endangered children should be reported to your local police department and/or the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-The-Lost. Information about violent fugitives can be provided to the U.S. Marshals Service at (504) 589-6872, via email at [email protected], or with the USMS tips app. Crimestoppers GNO may also be contacted with tips at (504) 822-1111.

Do you want to join our private family of first responders and supporters?  Get unprecedented access to some of the most powerful stories that the media refuses to show you.  Proceeds get reinvested into having active, retired and wounded officers, their families and supporters tell more of these stories.  Click to check it out.

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31 missing children recovered in federal operation – at least seven were little kids being sex trafficked

March 18, 2021

DALLAS-FORT WORTH, TX – Following a month-long operation focused on recovering missing and/or exploited children in North Texas, the Department of Justice announced that 31 children were safely recovered as a result of the efforts on March 17th. 

The effort was dubbed as “Operation Missing in the Metroplex”, according to the DOJ, and consisted of federal agencies partnering with law enforcement agencies in Arlington, Dallas, Fort Worth and Grand Prairie to locate missing and exploited children. 

Both the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Marshals were said to have led the operation while it was ongoing. 

Acting U.S. Marshal Quintella Downs-Bradshaw delivered the following comments with regard to the operation’s success: 

“To observe law enforcement partnerships and community concerns culminate into such a successful recovery outcome is rewarding. Victims should know they are not forgotten, there is hope and a way to return home.”

A total of 31 children were recovered during the effort, having been reunited with friends, relatives or with legal guardians. At least seven of the children were said to have been girls aged between 13 and 17 that were rescued from sex trafficking scenarios. 

According to the DOJ, the agency records over 420,000 reports of missing children every year. 

Dallas Police Department Chief of Police Eddie Garcia delivered comments on the operation as well, saying the following: 

“We are grateful to be a part of a coalition of extraordinary law enforcement agencies who were dedicated in reuniting these children with their loved ones. It is our hope that each of them will be able to put this traumatic experience behind them and move forward to have a happy and productive life.”

Arlington Chief of Police Al Jones also delivered comments on the operation, noting that the victims recovered are representative of the state’s “most vulnerable” population: 

“These kids and teens represent some of our most vulnerable populations where adults try to prey on their innocence. We will not rest until every child is located safe and someone is held accountable.”

Fort Worth Police Department Chief Neil Noakes mirrored the sentiments shared by Chief Jones, saying: 

“We will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partnerships in locating missing children and reuniting them with their families. Human trafficking is a serious issue and we will not rest until our most vulnerable population are safe.”

While the DOJ announced the recovery of said children, the agency didn’t relay whether there were any arrests linked to the operation as of this writing. 

Back in January, we at Law Enforcement Today shared a report detailing a similar operation carried out in California that resulted in 33 children being recovered. 

Here’s that previous report. 

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LOS ANGELES, CA – According to a statement released by the FBI on January 22nd, 2021, a total of 33 missing children – eight of whom were reportedly actively being sexually exploited at the time of their rescue – we’re recovered in Southern California following a joint venture that involved over two dozen law enforcement agencies and non-governmental partners.

In January, which ironically is Human Trafficking Awareness Month, the FBI teamed up with the LAPD and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (among other agencies) in an effort to locate missing and exploited children.

The operation that successfully recovered these 33 children was reportedly nicknamed “Operation Lost Angels”.

While the FBI did share the news of the successes associated with the operation, not too many details of the operation itself – as in the inner workings, specified agendas of various entities and so forth – have been shared by the FBI.

At least one arrest was enacted via this operation, with an individual facing state level charges under suspicions of human trafficking. Also, this joint venture has reportedly resulted in the opening of numerous investigations related to human trafficking and the ilk.

Apparently two of the victims were recovered “multiple times” in this operation – as they were known as being on the “track”, which is a term often associated with a victim who is being hosted at a place notorious for commercial sex trafficking.

FBI Los Angeles Public Affairs Specialist Laura Eimiller noted in the press release that, unfortunately, victims returning to their abusers is a viscous cycle associated with child sex trafficking:

“It is not uncommon for victims who are rescued to return to commercial sex trafficking either voluntarily or by force, fraud, or coercion.”

“This harmful cycle highlights the challenges victims face and those faced by law enforcement when attempting to keep victims from returning to an abusive situation. Victims may not self-identify as being trafficked or may not even realize they’re being trafficked.”

Some of the other victims that were recovered in this operation are apparently facing charges with respect to various probation violations, robbery, and other misdemeanors – but it’s unclear whether any of these minor victims are going to have their feet held to the proverbial fire.

Once again, the details on these instances are, frankly, limited.

One of the children rescued was apparently the victim of a non-custodial parent kidnapping, from what the FBI detailed on this operation.

Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office, Kristi K. Johnson, stated the following about the success of the operation:

“The FBI considers human trafficking modern day slavery and the minors engaged in commercial sex trafficking are considered victims.”

“While this operation surged resources over a limited period of time with great success, the FBI and our partners investigate child sex trafficking every day of the year and around the clock.”

LAPD Chief Michael Moore also commented on the continued endeavors law enforcement faces when trying to combat human trafficking in all forms:

“Human trafficking is a pervasive and insidious crime that threatens the safety of our young people, who are the future of our communities.”

“We can only begin to take back the future of our youth with the strong partnerships forged between outstanding service providers and law enforcement.”

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