4-Year-Old Boy Found Dead in Freezer, His Mom's Boyfriend Arrested, After Boy's Sister Brings Note to School
Brandon Toseland, 35, has been charged with open murder and two counts of kidnapping, according to Las Vegas police. He also allegedly kept the child's mother prisoner until she was able to smuggle notes via her daughter, to school officials.
Disturbing new details have emerged in the case of a 4-year-old Las Vegas boy who was found dead in a freezer after his mother smuggled notes via her daughter to school officials saying she was being held captive by her boyfriend, police said.
The body of little Mason Dominguez was discovered last week by Las Vegas police inside a deep freezer, underneath a false cardboard bottom covered by frozen food, authorities said. Officers also found several odor absorption bags, fans and an air filtration unit around the freezer, police said, adding it appeared the boy had been dead since early December.
Brandon Toseland, 35, is being held without bail at Clark County Detention Center after a Thursday court hearing, in which his defense lawyer asked for a mental health evaluation. His lawyer has said Toseland plans to plead not guilty.
Public defender Scott Coffee told reporters after Thursday's court appearance that the allegations necessitated a competency review of his client. "That’s the first thing we will look into, to see if he’s able to go forward" with legal proceedings, Coffee said. The attorney said he has not yet reviewed the case evidence.
The boy's mother told police she had been held captive by Toseland after moving in with him following her husband's death, authorities said. For months, she was physically, sexually and emotionally abused by a man who told her he would kill her children if she ever left him, the woman said.
She last saw her son in December, she said, after he became ill and Toseland locked him in a room, according to authorities.
After weeks of secretly writing a series of notes on sticky paper, she was able to smuggle them to her 7-year-old daughter, who gave them to her school administrators last Tuesday, police said. The notes said the mother was being held against her will and believed her son to be dead, investigators said.
“There was never a time when her daughter was with her that she was not locked in a room, bound or handcuffed,” said attorney Stephen Stubbs, who is representing the mother. “There was never an opportunity to take her daughter and run,” he told The Associated Press.
Toseland told the mother the boy was dead, police said in his arrest report, The AP reported. He “said she would not be allowed to see his body because he would lose his freedom," the arrest report said. Toseland never called police or paramedics, authorities said.
The man “slowly and methodically” increased control over the woman and her two children, said the mother's attorney. Toseland covered the windows, used video cameras to observe the three, took the mother's cellphone and cut her ties to family and friends, according to the lawyer.
Toseland's next court appearance is scheduled for Monday.
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