SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

December 3, 2012

Our view: Any who aided fugitives should face charges

It is difficult to imagine that the Plaistow, N.H., couple who spent two weeks on the run from child abuse charges did so without help.

Police and prosecutors are looking into whether anyone may have helped Roland Dow, 27, and his live-in girlfriend, Jessica Linscott, 23, elude police and flee to Florida. If they find that the pair did indeed have help, those who aided them should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

“Depending on where the evidence takes us, there could be some additional people charged,” Rockingham County Attorney James Reams told our reporters. “If anybody did assist them, we are going to look very hard at filing charges.”

The crimes of which Dow and Linscott are accused are particularly heinous and heartless.

Earlier this month, Exeter Hospital contacted police, saying a couple had dropped off a little boy with serious head injuries, massive bruises and burns. The couple told doctors the injuries were self-inflicted, but doctors concluded that was not true, police said. The 3-year-old boy is Linscott’s child by a previous relationship.

Reams said last week that Dow will be charged with first- and second-degree assault for allegedly burning the little boy’s wrist and fingers and striking him in the head, causing a serious brain injury and seizures. Each of the two charges is punishable by 10 to 30 years in state prison, 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. Linscott faces six child endangerment charges for failing to protect her son, who is in state custody and recovering from his injuries. Each of those charges is punishable by up to a year in jail.

Plaistow police had expected the couple to turn themselves in after they were identified as having dropped off the child. Instead, they went on the run, and the resulting manhunt led to reports of possible sightings across the Merrimack Valley and the North Shore.

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