EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

November 21, 2012

Police: Abuse of child caused multiple seizures

By Doug Ireland
direland@eagletribune.com

---- — BRENTWOOD, N.H. — Rockingham County Attorney James Reams announced yesterday a Plaistow man will be charged with burning a 3-year-old boy’s wrist and fingers, and striking him in the head, causing a serious brain injury and seizures.

Roland Dow of Plaistow, 27, remained on the loose, as did his live-in girlfriend and the boy’s mother, Jessica Linscott, 23.

Reams held a press conference outside the county courthouse to appeal for the public’s help in finding the couple. He also announced the charges against Dow have been elevated.

Reams said there’s no question the couple will be captured and charged.

“The question is when and where,” he said.

Dow faces to 10 to 30 years in state prison on single charges of first- and second-degree assault for allegedly burning the boy and hitting him in the head, Reams said.

Dow also will be charged with five counts of endangering the welfare of a child for failing to seek medical care for the child. Those counts are misdemeanors, punishable by up to a year in jail for each.

Police complaints released yesterday allege that Dow did not get help for the boy when he began suffering seizures on at least five occasions. Reams said he could not discuss how the abuse was inflicted.

Linscott faces six child endangerment charges for failing to protect her young son, who is now in state custody and recovering from his injuries.

Plaistow police received a call a week ago from Exeter Hospital, saying a little boy was dropped off with serious head injuries, massive bruises and burns. The couple told doctors the injuries were self-inflicted, but doctors concluded that was not the case.

The child was transferred to Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth, where Reams said he is in serious, but stable condition and showing improvement.

Reams, accompanied at the press conference by Plaistow police Lt. William Baldwin, said authorities have received numerous calls from people who said they have seen the couple in Southern New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

“We suggest they are still in the area,” Reams said. “We are getting a lot of help from the public already. I suspect we will have them soon.”

Last night, Lynn Police received a tip that “a couple who fit that description were possibly at a Honey Dew Donuts in the City of Lynn,” said Lynn Lt. David Brown. An officer was sent to investigate, but Brown said no information surfaced to indicate that was the Plaistow couple.

Police there also put out a “be on the lookout” alert over the radio for a red, late 1990s Volvo with green bumper stickers and luggage rack. Brown said he could not comment on a vehicle description. “I don’t want to get into particulars regarding information because this is an ongoing investigation,” he said.

In Plaistow, Baldwin said last night that he had not had calls come in to his department about the Volvo. “When people call their local police department on tips, (the local police) look into it themselves and call us if they find anything,” he said.

Calls have also come in from other communities such as Haverhill, Swampscott and Salem, Mass., Baldwin said. Police also received a call from Arizona with information about the couple, but Baldwin said he couldn’t comment further.

“We are here to urge them to turn themselves in,” Reams said. “No matter where they may run to, we will be bringing them back.”

Officers in the two states have been high alert this week.

Baldwin said the couple must be receiving help avoiding authorities. Family members have not been cooperative with the police, he said. The couple was supposed to surrender Monday, but did not. Neither has a vehicle.

“Somebody is helping them,” Baldwin said after the press conference. “We are going to be vigilant and vigorous. We are not stopping.”

Linscott’s mother is staying with her grandson in the hospital, Baldwin said.

Anyone found to be helping the couple will be charged with hindering apprehension, a felony punishable by prison time, Reams said.

Anyone with information is asked to call 911, the U.S. Marshal’s Office at (603) 225-1632 or Plaistow police at (603) 382-6816.

Staff writer Bill Kirk contributed to this report.