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DCYF says no complaints filed before boy hospitalized; couple reportedly spotted on Mass. North Shore

Staff Report
November 24. 2012 10:49PM

Jessica Linscott, front, and Roland Dow. (COURTESY)

New Hampshire child welfare officials had received no reports of abuse or neglect of a Plaistow boy before he was hospitalized with severe injuries this month, according to a state official.

Plaistow police on Saturday said they still have not located James Nicholson's mother, Jessica Linscott, or her boyfriend, Roland Dow, both of whom are charged in connection with the boy's injuries.

WCVB-TV in Boston reported late Saturday night that officials searched a Beverly, Mass., home where the couple was believed to be staying, but did not find them. WCVB reporter Liam Martin reported on Twitter that authorities were looking for a blue Dodge Caravan with New Hampshire plates.

Maggie Bishop, director of the state Division for Children, Youth & Families, said there were no "founded" or "unfounded" complaints regarding the 3-year-old.

"That just tells you I have no prior involvement," she said.

The boy was last listed in serious but stable condition at Children's Hospital at Dartmouth in Lebanon. An updated condition wasn't available Saturday.

Bishop said the DCYF is involved in the investigation of the boy's mother and her boyfriend, she said.

Roland H. Dow III, 27, of 197 Main St., faces one felony count of first-degree assault for allegedly striking the boy in the head on Nov. 1 and causing a traumatic brain injury. He is also charged with felony second-degree assault for allegedly burning the boy's wrist and fingers, authorities said.

The boy's mother, Jessica M. Linscott, 23, also of 197 Main St., faces six similar misdemeanor counts of endangering the welfare of a child. She is also accused of not seeking treatment for James on six occasions between Nov. 12 and 14.

The alleged abuse was discovered by workers at Exeter Hospital when the couple brought in the boy for treatment on Nov. 14, according to police. Concerned about the boy's condition, hospital staff contacted Plaistow police, who began an investigation.

Officials said the DCYF had custody of the child.

In general, Bishop said, DCYF workers try to keep a child with family members.

"We'd try to do relatives first if there's a relative that is safe or appropriate, then we'd do a foster home," Bishop said, noting the DCYF investigates 8,000 to 9,000 allegations of abuse or neglect a year.

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