N.H. authorities vow to capture Plaistow couple accused of abusing 3-year-old child
BRENTWOOD, N.H. – Rockingham County Attorney Jim Reams today vowed to search around the world and bring to justice a Plaistow couple accused of physically abusing the woman’s 3-year-old son.
“No matter where they are running to, we will bring them back,’’ Reams told reporters outside his office at Rockingham County Superior Court. “If they get caught in California, they’re coming back. If they get caught in Britain, they are coming back. We will get them.’’
Reams was referring to 23-year-old Jessica Linscott and her 27-year-old boyfriend, Roland Dow, who have been on the run from law enforcement since last week after the couple dropped Linscott’s son off at Exeter Hospital.
Medical staff quickly discovered signs that the child, James Nicholson, had been physically abused and alerted Plaistow police. Plaistow police expressed fear that the child would lose his eyesight or suffer permanent cognitive damage as a result of the abuse.
The child’s paternal grandmother, Helen Nicholson, who said she had cared for the child for long stretches of time in her Melrose, Mass., home, said in a telephone interview today that the child has improved significantly.
Nicholson said she spoke today with relatives who have had access to the child, and she has learned the child appears to have regained his eyesight, and that they no longer expect him to suffer and do not expect permanent cognitive damage.
“He got out of intensive care last night, and the family said he’s doing good, much better,” she said. “His eyesight is back and his brain is recovering. So that’s the best news we can hope for.”
Nicholson said that when the couple has not been caring for the child, he has stayed with her or with Linscott’s family in New Hamsphire. She last saw her grandson at Halloween.
Nicholson said she is currently blocked from seeing her grandson by authorities as they investigate how he came to be physically abused. Nicholson is the child’s paternal grandmother; her son, Jonathan Nicholson, died of an accidental overdose, she said, when his son was 3 months old.
“This is my dead son’s baby, and I’ve cared for my grandson throughout his life,’’ Nicholson said. “I just want to see him and let him know that everything will be OK, that they won’t ever hurt him again.”
At his press conference, Reams also said that, in addition to child endangerment charges, Dow now faces two assault charges — each of which carries a maximum of 30 years behind bars.
Linscott currently faces multiple counts of child endangerment.
Reams said he has a message for Linscott and Dow: “Surrender yourself and let’s do this the easy way.’’John R. Ellement and Martin Finucane of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Brian Ballou can be reached at email@example.com