NASHUA — Uncles of missing 5-year-old Elijah “Eli” Lews on Wednesday issued a plea to their sister to disclose the boy’s whereabouts.
The two spoke to reporters outside Hillsborough County Superior Court, where Danielle Dauphinais and her boyfriend were arraigned via jailhouse video-link on charges connected to her son’s disappearance. The boy was last seen about 30 days ago.
“We do love you, but you need to tell,” said Milford resident John Dauphinais. “It makes you worse (not to tell). It makes you a really bad person.”
He said Danielle, who has five other children, has never hurt her kids that he knows of and had always treated his kids well.
Eli frequently threw temper tantrums, and plans were for him to move to California and live with an aunt whose husband worked in mental health, the boy’s uncles said.
“Please cooperate,” implored half-brother Randy Stewart, of Effingham. “Please let us know where he is. Let us bring him home.”
Dauphinais and boyfriend Joseph Stapf, whose address was listed as 15 Burgess Drive, Litchfield, are being held at Valley Street jail. In a brief arraignment, a judge ordered them held without bail.
Superior Court Judge Charles Temple ordered arrest warrants in the case sealed but granted access to the defense lawyers on the condition they not share them with their clients.
Dauphinais, 35, faces three charges of felony witness tampering and two misdemeanor charges of child endangerment. Stapf, 30, faces one charge of witness tampering and one charge of child endangerment.
Dauphinais’ attorney, Jaye Rancourt of Manchester, said she had just been appointed to the case and had no comment.
Authorities began looking for the couple last Thursday, when child protective workers notified Merrimack police about Eli’s disappearance.
New York City Transit police arrested the pair Sunday in the Bronx. By Tuesday they had been returned to New Hampshire.
Meanwhile, authorities said the search for Eli continues. But the homicide prosecutor involved in the case, Senior Assistant Attorney General Susan Morrell, said she could not detail what the search involves because it is part of a criminal investigation.
“It’s been an extensive, exhaustive search and it continues to be so,” Morrell said Wednesday. “We are intent on finding Elijah and will continue those efforts until we do find him.”
A police guard was posted Wednesday outside the home at 7 Sunset Drive, which is listed in court records as Dauphinais’ address. The home, which is on the shore of Naticook Lake and has forested areas nearby, is the focus of the search.
John Dauphinais said he and Danielle were two of six siblings. They went through challenging times growing up, and Stewart said family members are estranged.
“Our family’s been a little bit crazy for most of our lives, and this is a big one. It’s shocking,” John said.
He has never met Eli, but his fiancée brought clothes and other necessities to Danielle’s house at times. Danielle recently had a child with Stapf, her sixth, John said.
John said he met Stapf at a July Fourth party a few years ago and once more after that. He seemed like a regular guy, he said.
On Tuesday, authorities said Eli was last seen 30 days ago. Initial reports were that his last sighting by “independent individuals” had been six months ago.
Charging documents accuse Dauphinais of violating a duty of care for Eli by failing to report him missing and by encouraging two others — Bruce Scherzer and Tracy Lyn Dauphinais — to deceive child protective service workers about Eli’s whereabouts. The felony charges allege Dauphinais encouraged Tracy Lyn, Joanne Stapf and Scherzer to either lie or not talk to child protective workers.
John Dauphinais said Lyn is the California aunt who was going to care for Eli. Scherzer is a family friend. Joanne Stapf is Joseph Stapf’s mother.
John said he has no idea where Eli could be, but he believes his sister does.
“DeeDee please, just please talk to the detectives,” he said. “He’s 5 years old. He doesn’t deserve this. He deserves to have a shot.”