It all turned out to be just a "lot of coincidences" and a "case of mistaken identity" in an hours-long manhunt Saturday night by Beverly and state police for who they thought was a fugitive New Hampshire couple, a Beverly police officer said Sunday morning.
Beverly police declined to comment further on the incident at the time, other than to say that the couple whom police were tracking in the area of Dunham Road and Brimbal Avenue were not connected to the case or the fugitives, although they did resemble them.
Police had initially received a tip that Jessica Linscott, 23, and boyfriend Roland Dow, 27, of Plaistow, N.H., were staying at a home at 18 Dunham Rd. in Beverly on Saturday.
That evening, an alert was issued to area departments to be on the lookout for the couple who police believed were driving north in a blue van with New Hampshire plates. The couple is wanted in a serious child abuse case involving Linscott's three-year-old son.
Authorities have received hundreds of tips in recent days possible sightings of the fugitives around the North Shore.
Around midnight, police issued an updated alert saying they were looking for a gray Honda Civic with Massachusetts plates they believed the fugitives were driving. That car was stopped shortly before 1 a.m. near North Shore Music Theatre and a female was taken into custody—police said at the time it was not Linscott.
Police then launched a manhunt that lasted for another couple hours, believing Dow and Linscott were hiding out nearby.
At one point, police did arrest a man hiding in a shed on Kinsman Street, believeing it was Dow. Officers and K-9 units continued to search the area for who they believed was Linscott, but that female was not found Sunday night.
CBS Boston reports that the man's first name also happened to be Roland and he was ultimately charged on unrelated warrants. Reports from the scene last night, indicated he and possibly his female companion were both intoxicated.
CBS Boston reports the initial tip came from the homeowner who mistakenly thought it was the fugitive couple who were staying with him.
At this time, it remains unclear who the female driving the Honda Civic was and whether police believe that Linscott and Dow instead fled in the blue minivan with New Hampshire plates. That vehicle was registered to a relative of the fugitives.