Couple to return to N.H. to face child abuse charges

PLAISTOW, N.H. — A fugitive couple arrested at a Florida theme park waived extradition and will voluntarily return to New Hampshire to face charges in the beating and burning of the woman’s 3-year-old son.

A judge in Orlando, Fla., ­accepted the waiver from 23-year-old Jessica Linscott and her 27-year-old boyfriend, ­Roland Dow, Friday morning during an informal document exchange with an Orange County sheriff’s office representative. Neither was in the courtroom, and it is unclear when they will return to New Hampshire.


Jim Reams, Rockingham County attorney, has said that he expected them to appear in court next week.

The two were taken into custody by US marshals Wednesday evening at Universal Studios after being on the run for two weeks, making stops in New York and New ­Jersey, US Deputy Marshal ­Jeffrey White said.

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Dow is charged with first- and second-degree assault. He and Linscott face multiple charges of child endangerment for failing to protect and get medical attention for James, who remains hospitalized at Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth in Lebanon.

Plaistow police say Dow stuck James in the head with enough force to cause traumatic brain injury and seizures and burned the boy’s wrist and fingers.

Tips from acquaintances and others helped authorities track the couple to a Florida hotel and Universal Studios.


Police said Dow and ­Linscott told them by phone several weeks ago that the boy’s injuries were self-inflicted and that they would go to the police station later. They never showed up.

Police say the boy was improv­ing but that his recovery will be long and difficult. A spokeswoman for the state ­Division of Children, Youth, and Families, which has legal custody of the boy, would not comment on his condition, citing confidentiality laws.

Dow’s grandmother, Helen Fram, lives next door to the couple in Plaistow, a town of about 8,000 residents on the Massachusetts state line. She said Thursday that she is certain that her grandson and ­Linscott did not hurt James. She said the boy sometimes banged his own head on the bathtub or threw himself off the toilet.

‘‘I can hear anything, if anything is going on,’’ she said. ‘‘They would never, ever hurt a baby. Never.’’

She said they initially went to the hospital with James but got scared when they found out police wanted to talk to them.

‘‘They figured they didn’t do anything, so they took off,’’ she said.

Asked why they would have gone to a theme park, she said that was one thing she did not understand.

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