ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Authorities were able to arrest a New Hampshire couple for allegedly beating and burning the woman's 3-year-old son after acquaintances and others offered tips leading marshals to a Florida hotel, an official said Thursday.
Federal marshals took 23-year-old Jessica Linscott and her boyfriend, 27-year-old Roland Dow, into custody Wednesday evening at the Universal Studios theme park in Orlando. They were wanted on warrants from New Hampshire and were fugitives for two weeks until their apprehension.
They are due to appear in a Florida courtroom Friday morning unless they waive extradition, said U.S. Deputy Marshal Jeffrey White.
New Hampshire law enforcement officials were en route to Florida to escort the couple back to the state if they waive extradition.
Dow is charged with first- and second-degree assault. Police say he struck the boy hard enough in the head on Nov. 12 to cause traumatic brain injury. He also is accused of burning the child's fingers and wrist. Police also have charged him with five counts of child endangerment, saying he failed to protect or seek medical attention for the boy.
Linscott is charged with multiple counts of child endangerment for failing to get medical attention for her son when he was suffering seizures from the head injury and for failing to protect him from harm. The complaints against her, all misdemeanors, cover conduct on the dates of Nov. 12-14.
Police say the boy's condition is improving but that his recovery will be long and difficult. He is recovering from traumatic brain injury and burns.
White said the couple worked their way down the East Coast, with stops in New York and New Jersey. He said he is not sure what mode of transportation they were using and that both their cars were accounted for in New Hampshire.
"I think they were smart enough to dump their cellphones," White said, stressing it was tips from acquaintances that led police to them.
"At one point in time they were still in contact with family members," White said.
White said tips led investigators first to Florida, then to the Orlando hotel where the couple was staying, and ultimately to Universal Studios, where they were apprehended after watching a parade.
"They didn't resist. They didn't have any weapons," White said. "I don't think they believed anyone would come looking for them in Florida."
He called it a "tragic irony" that they were apprehended at a theme park.
"It's very upsetting to everyone involved," White said. "They were hiding out in a place you'd normally take your kids for enjoyment, to have a good time. Here they are down there, on the run, after harming their child."
Linscott's son, James, remains hospitalized and his recovery is expected to be long and difficult, officials said.
Law enforcement officials spent "countless hours" trying to find Linscott and Dow, who are from Plaistow, N.H., a town of about 8,000 residents in Rockingham County, marshals said.
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