PLAISTOW, N.H. – A fugitive couple arrested at a Florida theme park were expected to reveal whether they will voluntarily return to New Hampshire to face charges in the beating and burning of the woman's 3-year-old son.
Federal marshals took 23-year-old Jessica Linscott and her boyfriend, 27-year-old Roland Dow, into custody Wednesday evening at Universal Studios in Orlando, Fla. They had been on the run for two weeks, making stops in New York and New Jersey on their way south, U.S. Deputy Marshal Jeffrey White said.
The two were not expected to appear in the Orange County courtroom Friday morning for what Florida officials say is a routine proceeding.
Rockingham County, N.H., District Attorney Jim Reams said his deputies will be on hand. If the couple waives extradition, they should be back in New Hampshire and appear in court sometime next week, he said. If they don't, Reams said, the process will be more time-consuming.
Corrections officials say the couple has denied media requests for interviews.
Dow is charged with first- and second-degree assault. He and Linscott face multiple charges of child endangerment for failing to protect and get medical attention for James, who remains hospitalized at Children's Hospital at Dartmouth in Lebanon.
Plaistow police say Dow stuck James in the head with enough force to cause traumatic brain injury and seizures and burnt the boy's wrist and fingers.
Tips from acquaintances and others helped authorities track the couple to a Florida hotel and Universal Studios.
Police said Dow and Linscott told them by phone several weeks ago that the boy's injuries were self-inflicted and that they would go to the police station later. They never showed up.
Police say the boy was improving but that his recovery will be long and difficult. A spokeswoman for the state Division of Children, Youth and Families, which has legal custody of the boy, would not comment on his condition, citing confidentiality laws.
Dow's grandmother, Helen Fram, lives next to the couple in a two-family home in Plaistow, a town of about 8,000 residents on the Massachusetts state line. She said Thursday that she's certain her grandson and Linscott did not hurt James. She said the boy sometimes banged his own head on the bathtub or threw himself off the toilet.
"I can hear anything, if anything is going on," she said. "They would never, ever hurt a baby. Never."
She said they initially went to the hospital with James but got scared when they found out police wanted to talk to them.
"They figured they didn't do anything, so they took off," she said.
Fram described her grandson as a loner and said he sometimes did siding or roofing work, though he is unemployed right now. She said she did not hear from him while he was on the run.
Asked why they would have gone to a theme park, she said that was one thing she did not understand.