By Jesse Roman
---- — SALEM, Mass. — Strong evidence suggests that a New Hampshire couple, on the lam since allegedly brutally assaulting a toddler, could be hiding out somewhere on the North Shore.
Jessica Linscott, 23, and Roland Dow, 27, of Plaistow, N.H., who have somehow avoided capture despite a two-state manhunt that has lasted a week, were reportedly seen in Salem on Thursday and in Lynn Wednesday, according to police.
Linscott and Dow face multiple charges in New Hampshire in connection to the horrific abuse to Linscott’s 3-year old son, James. According to reports, Linscott and Dow dropped off the toddler at Exeter Hospital on Nov. 14. The toddler had multiple bruises and burns on his body and has suffered brain injury and impaired sight as a result of physical beatings.
James is now recovering and in stable condition at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H. The boy’s father died of a drug overdose two years ago, according to news reports.
Linscott and Dow went missing soon after numerous charges were filed against them last Friday, Nov. 16. Since then, the county attorney has upgraded the charges against the couple. Dow faces two felony assault counts for allegedly beating the toddler and burning him, as well as five counts of endangering the welfare of a child. Linscott, the boy’s mother, has been charged with six counts of endangering the welfare of a child.
Since the couple fled, hundreds of tips have come into police on both sides of the border. Salem police received information on Thursday that the couple had been spotted in the MBTA area at 242 Bridge St. at about 11 a.m., but an officer who responded to the scene didn’t find them.
Another sighting placed the couple at a Honey Dew doughnut shop on Western Avenue in Lynn. Police said that the couple may have been seen riding in a red, late-1990s Volvo with green bumper stickers and a luggage rack.
In Swampscott, Sgt. Tim Cassidy said he had heard rumors of a local sighting of Linscott and Dow on Tuesday, but that his department hadn’t received any reports.
“No one called us on it,” Cassidy said.
On Wednesday, Rockingham (N.H.) County Attorney Jim Reams held a news conference and delivered a strong message to the fugitives.
“No matter where you go, we’re going to find you,” he said.
Reams also said that he suspects Linscott and Dow are still in the area and could be receiving help from friends and relatives. He maintains hope that the couple will turn themselves in.
Massachusetts State Police and the Rockingham County Attorney’s office did not return calls seeking comment yesterday.
Anyone with information on the couple’s whereabouts is asked to call Plaistow police at 603-382-6816.
Staff writer Neil H. Dempsey contributed to this report.