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Police: Hole in backyard likely was gravesite for 4-year-old boy

Updated February 24, 2022 - 1:32 pm

A deep hole in the backyard of an east Las Vegas home likely was planned as a gravesite for the body of a 4-year-old boy who was found dead in a freezer this week, a police investigator said Thursday.

Metropolitan Police Department homicide Lt. Ray Spencer said the hole was discovered in the yard of the home where Brandon Toseland and his girlfriend lived. The woman’s son, Mason Dominguez, was found dead in a freezer on Tuesday, and Toseland now faces a murder charge.

”During the execution of the search warrant we located a very deep 8-foot hole that had been dug in the backyard,” Spencer said. “It appears to have been dug as a grave. There was also dirt located inside a U-Haul parked in the driveway.”

Spencer said police believe Toseland planned to put the child’s body in the hole and bury it.

“That is what we believe because of the depth of the hole,” he said. “The hole was layered as such that it makes us believe that was the plan.”

Toseland, 35, also faces two counts of first-degree kidnapping. He made a second court appearance in the case on Thursday and continues to be held without bail.

His public defender, Scott Coffee, said Toseland is being housed in protective custody at the Clark County Detention Center. During Thursday’s court hearing, Toseland wore the same white shirt pictured in the booking photo from his Tuesday arrest.

Following the hearing, Coffee said he had yet to receive any reports regarding the case.

“There’s certainly the specter of mental health concerns with this,” the attorney said.

In a Thursday statement, police said Toseland had “declined all jail house interviews with media representatives.”

Spokesman for victims

Attorney Stephen Stubbs, who said he has been designated as the media representative for Mason’s family, said the family has reported an “unauthorized” GoFundMe page to Metro that was established Wednesday by a “distant family member.” The woman who created the online fundraiser has not responded to a request for comment.

Metro has told GoFundMe that Mason’s mother had not authorized the fundraiser, which should result in refunds for people who have donated, police spokesman Misael Parra said.

“At this point it’s not an official investigation,” he said.

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 a Metro arrest report.

She was able to smuggle multiple “sticky notes” with her 7-year-old daughter to the girl’s elementary school, according to an emailed statement from Stubbs, to inform school officials that she was being held against her will and suspected her son had died.

“The mother and daughter victims are grateful that their captivity is over,” Stubbs wrote. “They are traumatized by these horrifying events, and overwhelmed with grief for the loss of their 4 year old son and brother.”

Stubbs described Toseland as an acquaintance of the mother’s husband, who died in January 2021 of an “unknown respiratory illness.”

The woman told police that Toseland cut off her contact with her son, after which she “felt she was not free to leave” the home on the 4300 block of Saddle Brook Park Drive.

Police searched the home Tuesday after Mason’s sister came to school with a note, the police report said. Mason’s body was found in a trash bag inside a garage freezer, hidden under a false cardboard bottom and multiple items of food.

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.

Suspect’s prior arrests

Toseland was arrested in 2019 on a warrant stemming from a domestic violence charge the year before, according to a police report.

In 2018, Toseland accused his girlfriend at the time of cheating on him and struck her twice, police said. The woman’s name was redacted from the report.

The case was dismissed after he completed community service and impulse control classes, court records show.

Toseland also was arrested on a domestic battery charge after he punched a female relative several times in the face following an argument in September 2013 in an east Las Vegas apartment, according to a police report.

The woman, whose name was redacted from the report, left the apartment with her baby and called police. Toseland was arrested on a warrant tied to the battery charge during a traffic stop in January 2014, and court records show that the case was later dismissed.

Contact Glenn Puit at gpuit@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0390. Follow @GlennatRJ on Twitter. Contact Katelyn Newberg at knewberg@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0240. Follow @k_newberg on Twitter. Review-Journal staff writer Sabrina Schnur contributed to this report.

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