, Newburyport, MA

November 22, 2012

Police: Abuse of child caused multiple seizures

By Doug Ireland
Staff writer

---- — 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 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.”

Calls have come in from 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, with police investigating tips that the couple was in Haverhill and Swampscott on Tuesday.

Swampscott police sent an alert to their officers to be on the lookout for the couple, Officer Saverio Caruso said.

“Somebody in our area reported to Plaistow they thought they saw someone in Swampscott that resembled the couple,” he said. “We gave that information to the cars on the street to be on the heads up. Nothing has turned up.”

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.