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Gifts aplenty for Plaistow boy

Union Leader Correspondent

December 23. 2012 11:09PM
A sign offering support from children and families in Seabrook was attached to a box filled with stuffed animals donated to James Nicholson. The 3-year-old Plaistow boy received between 300 and 400 donated gifts. (Photo by Jason Schreiber)

PLAISTOW - James Nicholson wasn't sure what to think when he walked into the Plaistow Police Department.

Everything changed when the 3-year-old Plaistow boy came into the station's central records room and saw what was waiting for him.

"He was very shy at first coming in, but when he saw the toys there was a big smile on his face. He warmed up very quickly," Deputy Police Chief Kathleen Jones said of the 3-year-old who made two trips to the police department to collect the mountain of toys.

Gifts from strangers far and wide began arriving at the police department in the days after James was hospitalized on Nov. 14 with a life-threatening head injury and burns on his wrist and fingers in what prosecutors said was a case of child abuse.

The case gained national attention when his mother, Jessica Linscott, 23, fled with her boyfriend, Roland Dow, 27, and were caught by U.S. Marshals nearly two weeks later at the Universal Studios theme park in Orlando, Fla.

The Plaistow couple was arrested moments after watching a parade.

Dow faces one count of first-degree assault and two counts of second-degree assault. Dow is accused of striking James in the head with his hand, causing a traumatic brain injury that resulted in vision impairment. He is also accused of burning the boy's fingers and wrist and causing bruising on his torso by hitting him with his hand.

Dow is also charged with five counts of endangering the welfare of a child; Linscott faces six counts of the same charge. Prosecutors claim the couple allegedly failed to seek medical treatment for James after he began experiencing seizures and other symptoms resulting from the head injury.

After several days in the hospital, James was released and is reportedly living with his grandmother in Kingston, although Jones would say only that the boy was brought to the station by his guardian to pick up the toys.

Dow remains held at the Rockingham County jail on $500,000 cash bail while Linscott is being held on $100,000 bail.

While Dow and Linscott await their day in court, James will be celebrating Christmas with lots and lots of toys.

Jones estimates that between 300 and 400 presents were donated to the boy.

They filled the police department's central records room, and after they were picked up two weeks ago, more continued to arrive. The room was half full when James was brought to the station Friday to collect the rest of the gifts just in time for Christmas, Jones said.

People continued dropping off gifts up until Friday.

"Some people were ordering from a store and having the store deliver them, but the majority were from people dropping them off," Jones said. "It was very, very heartwarming. The people who gave their time and their efforts to get things for him certainly made his Christmas."

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