By Doug Ireland
---- — PLAISTOW — Toys and donations are pouring into the police station to help an abused boy, leaving little space beneath the department’s Christmas tree.
Ever since the plight of 3-year-old James Nicholson received national attention, many people have been eager to help provide for the battered and burned child, according to Deputy police Chief Kathleen Jones.
At least 50 presents had been left at the station as of yesterday, Jones said. Monetary donations have been coming in, too, she said.
“We have had a lot of people who called and checks have been left here,” Jones said. “The boy needs to know he will be loved and supported.”
Steve MacEachern, an employee of the Somerville, Mass., Department of Public Works, has filled his pickup truck with toys donated by approximately 20 co-workers. He plans to drop them off at the police station Monday.
“We’re trying to do something to help the little boy,” MacEachern said. “He’s been through a lot.”
He said he has a 3-year-old grandson and just had to do something to help.
“I can’t believe anyone could hurt a defenseless child like that,” he said. “It really struck a chord with me.”
It did for a lot of people. Everyone is wondering how they can help the blond boy with the big smile abandoned at Exeter Hospital on Nov. 16 after being severely beaten.
The child’s mother and her live-in boyfriend dropped him off there and then disappeared.
Jessica Linscott, 23, and Roland Dow, 27, both of Plaistow, eluded authorities for two weeks before they were finally captured at Universal Studios theme park in Orlando, Fla., on Nov. 28. They were returned to New Hampshire last weekend and arraigned in 10th Circuit Court in Plaistow on Monday.
Dow is charged with burning the child’s wrist and fingers, and striking him, causing serious brain injuries that led to seizures. The little boy also temporarily lost his sight. Linscott has been charged with failing to protect her son from Dow.
Jones said the child, who is in state custody, was recently released from Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth and is living with relatives. Toys and donations will be collected through Christmas and given to his family, Jones said.
She said she is also helping relatives set up a fund for all the money sent for the boy. She did not know how much had been donated and if there were plans to donate some of the numerous toys or money.
“We will let the family decide,” she said.
Relatives could not be reached for comment, but Jones said they are grateful for the public’s support.
Maggie Bishop, director of the state Division for Children, Youth and Families, said she could not comment specifically on the young boy’s case. But she did say that generally, the state foots medical and other costs for children in state custody.
The onslaught of gifts and cash donations comes at a time when many local organizations are seeking help in providing toys and food during the holiday season.
Organizers of local toy drives said yesterday they have been following the story of the 3-year-old and praised the generosity of those trying to help him.
But they also said — when asked — that if the family chose to donate some of the gifts, their organizations would be happy to accept them for other needy children.