Man accused of hiding child’s body in freezer facing additional charges
Relatives of 4-year-old Mason Dominguez said they had not seen the boy in the year prior to the grim discovery of his body last week in a freezer at an east Las Vegas home.
“This was 100 percent preventable, and it shouldn’t have gotten to this point,” Mason’s aunt, Annissa Abina, said Monday following a court hearing for 35-year-old Brandon Toseland, who is accused of killing the boy.
Toseland was arrested Feb. 22 after Mason’s mother slipped a note with the boy’s sister to school officials, leading to the discovery of Mason’s body at the home on the 4300 block of Saddle Brook Park Drive, according to a Metropolitan Police Department report.
Prosecutors on Monday officially charged Toseland with murder, kidnapping, kidnapping resulting in substantial bodily harm, child abuse or neglect, and child abuse or neglect resulting in substantial bodily harm.
Toseland answered, “Yes, your honor,” when Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Pro Tem William Jansen asked if he understood the charges.
Relatives of Mason’s father said they had not heard from the boy’s mother since the man’s death in January 2021. Mason’s paternal relatives attended the packed court hearing with posters reading “Justice for Mason,” while the boy’s mother sat on the opposite end of the courtroom.
Abina said her nephew was “high energy” and loving, and always had a smile on his face. She said it was difficult to see Toseland in person and sit through the hearing, during which Abina was seen crying while seated next to Mason’s grandmother.
“We can’t wrap our head around the situation. We don’t understand,” Abina said. “We don’t have the words.”
Mason’s mother told police that Toseland had tied her up, handcuffed her and taken away her cellphone in the weeks following Dec. 11, when she had last seen her son, according to the arrest report. Police found handcuffs in Toseland’s car the day he was arrested.
The mother declined to comment on Monday following the court hearing.
Attorney Stephen Stubbs, who said he has been designated as the media representative for Mason’s mother, said Toseland was an acquaintance of the mother’s husband, who died of an “unknown respiratory illness.”
“The mother and daughter victims are grateful that their captivity is over,” Stubbs said in an emailed statement last week. “They are traumatized by these horrifying events, and overwhelmed with grief for the loss of their 4 year old son and brother.”
Mason’s mother told police that the boy became ill on Dec. 11 and that she wanted to seek medical care, but Toseland told her she could not. Toseland, who had dated the woman for 11 months, took Mason into a bedroom and barricaded the door, preventing the woman from entering for “a considerable amount of time,” the arrest report said.
Toseland told the woman that Mason had died but he could not show her the body “because his freedom would be taken away,” the report said. She said Toseland claimed he found Mason in bed covered in vomit and not breathing. He said he attempted CPR but could not resuscitate Mason, and the report noted that Toseland did not attempt to contact police or medical personnel.
The garage freezer where Mason was found was surrounded by multiple odor absorption bags, fans and an air filtration unit, police said.
A deep hole found in the home’s backyard likely was an attempt at digging a makeshift grave for the boy’s body, Metro homicide Lt. Ray Spencer has said. Dirt was found in a U-Haul parked in the driveway, he said.
At least one of the child abuse charges Toseland faces stems from the allegation that he failed to seek medical attention for the boy, according to his public defender, Scott Coffee, who said Monday that he is waiting to review Mason’s medical records.
Coffee said Toseland was unemployed at the time of Mason’s death, but he previously had worked at a car wash business and homebuilder company.
The defendant has appeared “withdrawn” since his arrest, said Coffee, who has questioned the state of the man’s mental health.
“The whole case is strange,” the attorney said Monday.
Toseland remained in the Clark County Detention Center on Monday without bail. He is scheduled to appear in court again on April 7.
Contact Katelyn Newberg at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0240. Follow @k_newberg on Twitter.