BEVERLY — A series of extraordinary coincidences sent Beverly and state police on a chase Saturday for two Plaistow, N.H., fugitives accused in a horrific case of child abuse.
By the time officers realized they were on the wrong trail, they’d encountered two people with outstanding warrants, including one who broke into a building and resisted arrest while trying to elude police. The fleeing pair from New Hampshire were not located, and there’s no evidence they ever were in Beverly.
The incident was sparked by a tip from a Salem resident that fugitives Roland Dow, 27, and Jessica Linscott, 23, were staying at a house on Dunham Road in Beverly. The pair are suspected in the first-degree assault that sent Linscott’s 3-year-old son, James, to Exeter Hospital with burns and severe head injuries, according to The Associated Press.
Arrested early this morning in Beverly was Roland Lemieux, 31, of Middleton on charges including breaking and entering in the night to commit a crime, disturbing the peace, and resisting arrest. Police believe he was trying to flee due to an outstanding warrant.
Officers went to the Dunham Road address on Saturday evening, according to Chief Mark Ray, seeking Dow. “We had a caller who said they knew the people at that house. ... They told us these are the people police are looking for.”
The coincidence of both Lemieux and Dow having the same first name further piqued the interest of police. They offered a photo to the landlord, Edward Cloutman, 71, a man discovered to have an outstanding warrant for motor vehicle violations himself. Prior to his arrest, Cloutman positively identified Lemieux and a woman staying with him as Dow and Linscott.
Police considered this strong evidence that they were near the fugitives, Ray said.
The pair had been guests of a woman living with him, the landlord said. They could not be located during a search of the house, but police began to scour the area.