CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Tips from acquaintances and others helped authorities track a fugitive New Hampshire couple to Florida, where they were arrested at the Universal Studios theme park on charges connected to the beating and burning of the woman's 3-year-old son, 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 Orlando park. 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.
"They didn't resist. They didn't have any weapons," he said. "I don't think they believed anyone would come looking for them in Florida."
They are due to appear in a Florida courtroom Friday morning unless they waive extradition. If they do, New Hampshire law enforcement officials will escort them back to the state.
Police say Dow hit James Linscott hard enough in the head on Nov. 12 to cause traumatic brain injury and seizures and also burned his fingers and wrist. It was at least three days before the boy was taken to Exeter Hospital, where authorities called police.
Police say Dow and Linscott told them by phone that the boy's injuries were self-inflicted and that they would go to the police station later. They never showed.
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 is now at Children's Hospital at Dartmouth in Lebanon.
Police say his condition is improving but that his recovery will be long and difficult.
"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."
White 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," he 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 arrested after watching a parade.
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.