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Compassion abounds for Plaistow boy in abuse case

Union Leader Correspondent

December 06. 2012 1:01AM
James Nicholson 

PLAISTOW - Christmas gifts for 3-year-old James Nicholson are piling up inside the Plaistow Police Department as the community rallies around the boy at the center of an abuse case who a few weeks ago was left hospitalized with burns and a life-threatening head injury.

"There's been a very large outpouring of support for the little boy," Plaistow Detective Patrick Schiavone said as people continued to drop off gifts for the child on Wednesday afternoon.

As reported on Tuesday night, James is now out of the hospital and continuing to recover while living with his maternal grandmother in Kingston. It's a home where he spent a lot of his time when he wasn't with his mother, Jessica Linscott, 23, and her boyfriend, Roland Dow, 27, at their Plaistow residence.

Linscott and Dow remain behind bars at the Rockingham County jail after they were arrested last week at Universal Studios in Orlando, Fla., on charges stemming from an investigation launched Nov. 14 when James was brought to Exeter Hospital with bruises over much of his body, burns on his wrist and fingers, and a head injury that resulted in a traumatic brain injury, authorities said.

The case grabbed headlines when Linscott and Dow fled after bringing James to the hospital. Linscott told hospital workers that the injuries were self-inflicted, but they suspected they were the result of abuse and notified police.

Linscott and Dow disappeared after learning that Plaistow police planned to arrest them, and after a nationwide search that lasted nearly two weeks, the pair was cuffed moments after watching a parade at Universal Studios.

Dow faces first- and second-degree assault charges for allegedly striking James in the head, causing a brain injury that left him temporarily blind, and burning him.

He and Linscott also face several counts of endangering the welfare of a child for allegedly failing to seek medical care when James suffered seizures and other health problems on several occasions.

With Christmas just around the corner, people like Dave Drislane have been stopping by the police station with presents to brighten the boy's holiday.

A father of three children, Drislane, 38, of Danville, arrived Wednesday afternoon carrying a race car kit and set of miniature dinosaurs.

Drislane said it was a "miracle" that James recovered enough to leave the hospital.

"Hopefully he has a good Christmas and is in a safe home. He's with his grandparents now. Evil has been locked up, hopefully for a long time," he said.

At a press briefing on Wednesday afternoon, Schiavone provided an update on the boy's condition.

"On behalf of James' family, they are extremely grateful for the outpouring of support and toys that James has received during his recovery," he said.

Schiavone asked the media to respect the family's privacy "so that James can receive the care and attention he needs to continue in his recuperation. Part of his recuperation will be to maintain a normal daily routine with his caretakers."

Toy donations may continue to be dropped off at the police department. A fund is also being established to accept monetary donations.

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Jason Schreiber may be reached at

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