Mom who fled to theme park after allowing boyfriend to beat her toddler son is granted parole

A New Hampshire woman who fled to a Florida amusement park with her boyfriend after allowing him to severely beat her 3-year-old son has been granted parole.

Jessica Linscott and Roland Dow were arrested at Universal Orlando Resort in November 2012, two weeks after leaving her toddler at a New Hampshire hospital with a brain injury, head-to-toe bruises and burns on his hand and arm.

Linscott pleaded guilty to child endangerment and witness tampering and testified against Dow, who is serving 25½ to 67 years in prison after being convicted of assault and other charges. A parole board agreed Thursday to release Linscott in May after she serves the minimum of her 2½- to 7-year sentence.

Though Linscott admitted spanking and harshly punishing her son, she said Dow physically and mentally abused her and treated her son "worse than a dog you don't want." She said Dow struck her son in the head when he had seizures, and admitted she did not try to comfort her child.

"I allowed a lot of things to happen that I shouldn't have let happen. I was being a horrific parent," she testified at Dow's trial. "I was neglecting my son's needs. I was putting Roland first and letting him take control of every situation."

Dow's attorneys painted Linscott as a longtime liar who blamed her ex-boyfriend for crimes she could have committed herself, but prosecutors countered that being an awful mother doesn't mean Linscott was lying. Linscott said she let Dow abuse and terrify the boy in part because she feared he would do something worse if she left him.

At Dow's sentencing hearing in August, relatives said the boy, who lives with his grandmother, was doing well and has visited his mother in prison.