Five-year-old Elijah was found dead, buried in a shallow grave, in a remote, wooded area of a state he didn’t even live in. His death has now been ruled a homicide after the completion of his long-awaited autopsy. But his cause of death is what is most horrifying.
The medical examiner determined the child died from malnourishment, neglect, and fentanyl poisoning. Yet even more heartbreaking: it was revealed he had pressure ulcers and severe injuries to his face and skull.
The headlines are saying he died from “violence and neglect.” Elijah's mother, Danielle Dauphinais, 35, and her partner, Joseph Stapf, 30, were arrested in October for witness tampering and child endangerment. They have not yet been charged with Elijah’s death. They are both scheduled to appear in court in December 2021.
Months before he went missing, Danielle described how she felt about her son to a friend over Snapchat, stating she would call him “the next Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer.” She continued by saying she felt no connection with the child and she wanted him gone.
The friend also claims Danielle kept him in his room as he would play with his feces and urine. She admitted that her situation was “a [expletive] nightmare that I can’t wake up from.”
Jaye Rancourt, Dauphinais’s attorney, does not trust the validity of the messages sent between his client and her friend back in June. “I have no information that these text messages are from my client,” he stated.
At the time he went missing, Elijah was living with Danielle and Stapf in the basement of a home owned by Stapf’s mother. Witnesses claim Elijah rarely went outside to play around his home in Merrimack, New Hampshire and that he was never enrolled in school.
Thanks to forensic technology, Elijah didn’t have to wait long to be found. A cellphone dumped in Sandy Pond in Ayer, Massachusetts changed the course of the investigation completely. A group of kids came across the cellphone while hanging out at the pond and decided to turn it in to the police, not knowing how important their find would really be.
By this time, Elijah had been missing for a month.
Phone records were analyzed by investigators and used to track the movements of the accused. This led to arresting the couple who had fled to New York City and ultimately discovering the body of the missing boy in Abington, Massachusetts.
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