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A pair charged in alleged connection with a missing Merrimack child were arraigned

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Two adults charged in connection with the disappearance of a 5-year-old from Merrimack were arraigned in Hillsborough County Superior Court Wednesday morning, as officials continue to search for the missing child.

New Hampshire's Division for Children Youth and Families reported Elijah Lewis missing on Oct. 14, prompting an investigation by state and local authorities.

According to state officials, Lewis was not reported missing prior to that date and “was last seen by independent individuals approximately six months ago.” It is unclear whether DCYF had prior contact with the family before Lewis was reported missing last week.

Danielle Dauphinais, Elijah’s mother, and Joseph Stapf, whose relationship to Lewis is unclear, were arrested in New York City on Monday on charges of witness tampering and child endangerment.

State authorities allege that Dauphinais and Stapf failed to report Lewis missing and instructed other people to lie to or withhold information from child protective service workers about Lewis’s whereabouts.

Both Dauphinais and Stapf pled not guilty in court on Wednesday and are being held under preventative detention. Their attorneys requested the right to another bail hearing at a later date.

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Officials say anyone with information about where Elijah is should contact the Merrimack Police Department Crimeline at 603-424-2424, the New Hampshire State Police at 603-223-4381 or 603-628-8477, or Lead Investigator Detective Sergeant Kelly Healey at Kelly.A.Healey@dos.nh.gov.

Casey McDermott is an editor and reporter at New Hampshire Public Radio, where she works with colleagues across the newsroom to deepen the station’s accountability coverage, data journalism and audience engagement across platforms.

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