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Mother of slain child tells grand jury she was held captive for months

Updated April 12, 2022 - 5:35 pm

A Las Vegas mother has told a grand jury a harrowing account of domestic violence culminating with the slaying of her 4-year-old son at the hands of her former boyfriend, according to newly released court records.

On March 31, Dahsia Maldonado, 28, testified in front of a grand jury that indicted her former boyfriend, Brandon Toseland, 35, on charges of murder, child abuse and kidnapping in the death of Maldonado’s son, Mason Dominguez. The child’s body was discovered by police in a freezer at Toseland’s northeast Las Vegas home in February.

Maldonado testified that she was held captive by Toseland for more than two months after her son went missing in December. She escaped in February by giving her 7-year-old daughter, Rylie, notes to pass on to educators at Rylie’s school, asking them to call the police.

”I was just writing that if he (Toseland) finds out that I tried to get help, that he would kill me and he would not tell me where my son was,” Maldonado said of the notes.

Maldonado told the grand jury she moved in with Toseland in March of 2021. Her husband, Elijah Dominguez, had recently died, and Toseland was a friend of the Dominguez family.

”I was just in a lot of pain and grieving and very, I guess, vulnerable, and just felt like I lost the person that I was supposed to be with,” Maldonado said.

At first the relationship with Toseland was going relatively smoothly, she said. Over time, though, Toseland became extremely possessive.

“He wasn’t trusting,” she said. “He would control when I can go anywhere, what stores I can go to, what I can spend my money on. He would try to accuse me of talking to someone or if I tried to go somewhere, he would just accuse me of trying to meet someone. He would just basically restrict what I was doing and where I was going. He would check my phone all the time, randomly take my phone away.”

Maldonado said she was working a full-time job to support the family while Toseland stayed home to take care of her children and two children Toseland had from a prior relationship. She said Toseland eventually started to isolate her from her son.

“He felt like I babied my son too much and that boys, they’re supposed to be tough,” Maldonado said. “He wouldn’t allow me to baby him (Mason.) Like if anything happened, if I wanted to hug him or anything like that, he would kind of like separate us more.”

Toseland eventually became violent, she said.

“He was very intimidating,” Maldonado said. “He would yell at me, get right in my face, very threatening. At times he would get physical. He would shove me around and he would put me in chokeholds. It was a slow progression.”

By September, Toseland made her withdraw Mason from school. She later noticed lacerations to the child’s buttocks, prompting a heated argument with Toseland.

“We got into a big argument because he knew that that was crossing the line for me, that you don’t put your hands on my kids,” she said. “He was very distraught when I confronted him about it and he was just apologizing over and over again and saying that he took it too far, he didn’t know how hard he was spanking him since he was using the spatula.”

On Dec. 10, Mason said he wasn’t feeling well. Toseland then took the child into a bedroom and locked the door, Maldonado said.

“He came out and threatened me and shoved me to the floor and put me in a chokehold,” Maldonado said, adding she felt like “I couldn’t do anything because he always just got physical and just intimidated me like he was going to hurt me.”

She never saw her son again. She said in the following days, Toseland offered no explanation of where Mason was. At one point she attempted to go into the garage of the home where the freezer was located and Toseland freaked out, she said. When she confronted him on Dec. 17 about where Mason was, Toseland responded by restraining her with duct tape.

“He got on top of me and he put his hand over my nose and my mouth and he told me not to make any noise, not to scream or he’d have to hurt me because he didn’t want the neighbors to hear,” Maldonado said. “And, he told me that he didn’t know how to tell me that my son was dead….I was hysterical. I was just screaming and crying.”

Toseland claimed that Mason’s death was an accident but that he didn’t report it because he knew he would be charged with murder. She said from that point forward “I thought he was going to kill me so I needed to comply with whatever he wanted.”

She said she spent much of her time in a bedroom with a huge TV stand barricading the door. Toseland took her phone from her. There were times when she left the home with Toseland but she was often handcuffed in their vehicle. There were times she was allowed to go into a store with Toseland but she was ordered to keep her head down and not make eye contact with anyone.

“He would tell me, you know, ‘I’m so desperate right now and murder is murder, one body or ten bodies doesn’t matter at this point,’” she recalled. “And he Googled missing people in the U.S. He showed me that over 500,000 people go missing and (are) never found, and he told me that he can cut me up into a million pieces and they’d never find me.”

She said she wrote the notes asking teachers at her daughter’s school to call the police, then gave the notes to her daughter and told the child to hide the notes in her socks. Police said after discovering Mason’s body, they also found a large hole in the backyard of Toseland’s home that they suspected was a makeshift grave.

The child’s cause of death still hasn’t been released by the Clark County coroner’s office but a prosecutor said in court recently that the child suffered a myriad of internal injuries including blunt force trauma to his abdomen. He also suffered cuts, bruising to his torso and extremities, and was found with a bite mark on his left arm.

Toseland’s attorney, Augustus Claus, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday. Las Vegas attorney Lisa Rasmussen filed a wrongful death and negligence lawsuit against Toseland on behalf of Maldonado in March.

“His campaign of control and dominion over her life appears to have started at least as early as last summer, and obviously it continued until Feb. 22 when she was rescued by police,” Rasmussen said.

Contact Glenn Puit by email at gpuit@reviewjournal.com. Follow @GlennatRJ on Twitter.

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