Advertisement

Grand jury evidence outlines new details in Las Vegas 4-year-old’s killing

Published: Apr. 12, 2022 at 4:01 PM PDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - A mother’s pleas, scrawled on sticky notes, hidden away in a child’s sock. That was the only secure delivery method one Las Vegas mother saw as a ticket to freedom, after months of trauma at the hand of her boyfriend, according to evidence presented to a grand jury.

In February 2022, investigators say 4-year-old Mason Dominguez’s body was found inside the freezer of a northeast Las Vegas Valley home. Amid constant surveillance and threats of violence, his mother said her live-in partner is responsible for his killing, documents reveal.

A TRAPPED MOTHER

Her husband had died in January 2021, leaving her alone with two young children. Two months later, she’d move in with 35-year-old Brandon Toseland, a man she had connected with in previous years, testimony shows. He’d serve as their primary caretaker when she was away at work or school.

Mason was a happy, quiet child, just like his mother, the victim told a grand jury. The boy lived with his sister and Toseland’s two other young children from a previous relationship. But it was his house.

During her testimony, the victim detailed being held against her will and strategically cut off from her loved ones, including her son.

In mid-December 2021, she said she was locked away from her children, a move that was not unusual for Toseland, who had a history of distrust, documents reveal. Later, he would bind her and take her cellphone, all to keep his secret concealed, she said.

“He wasn’t trusting,” she said. “He would control where I can go anywhere, what stores I can go to, what I can spend my money on.”

Meanwhile, the child’s body remained hidden inside the family home, documents show.

THE TIMELINE

2021 - A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE

According to the victim, Toseland would discipline the boy by hitting him with a spatula. He would also spank the others kids or put them in timeout for bad behavior, records show. Initially, the mother thought her child’s bruises were caused by normal playtime. She’d see the marks appear every few weeks. But Toseland blamed the dog, or little falls for the purple welts on her son’s body, she said. After noticing more bruising, she confronted Toseland and she said he apologized multiple times. She didn’t want him touching her kids.

In days leading up to the child’s death, Toseland told his girlfriend to withdraw Mason from school for fear of raising a red flag about the bruising. He told her he’d be bound for prison if the school suspected any foul play.

DEC. 10

On Dec. 10, Mason wasn’t feeling well, suffering from some bowel or digestive issue. His mother tried to comfort him, but Toseland took the child by the wrist and said he’d clean him up.

“He felt that I babied him too much and that boys, they’re supposed to be strong,” she said.

From there, documents illustrate a panicked mother, banging on the door and being put in a chokehold for trying to protect her son, she said. She couldn’t get to her baby.

After that, she never saw her son alive again, she told the courtroom. Toseland said the boy needed rest.

AFTER DEC. 11: THE SUITCASE AND ‘THE ACCIDENT’

Despite the secretive nature of Toseland and desire to reunite with Mason, the family was planning a trip to Lake Tahoe just days before the sickness. When she’d ask about the boy, Toseland said he was still recovering, or made up some other excuse as to the child’s whereabouts, she said. The matter had been taken care of, she thought, so the mother continued her routine of work and school for the next few days.

They were set for vacation between Dec. 16 - 21. When the victim asked Toseland where their suitcase was, he said he didn’t know. When she checked the garage for luggage, he repeatedly slammed the door shut and said he had already looked there, she told the court.

The freezer where Mason was found was located inside that garage, but the mother didn’t know it at the time, she said.

When she became suspicious and distraught, Toseland told her to lie down on the bed and calm down. But when she did, records show he bound her hands and ankles with duct tape.

Then he told her about “a tragic accident.”

He said “he didn’t mean for it to happen,” describing an incident in the bathroom, she told the grand jury.

After what transpired, he stopped breathing, Toseland told her. He said he attempted CPR, but it was too late. He was dead by Dec. 11. It was unclear what officially caused the child’s death, but for days, the mother was led to believe her son was alive and well.

Days passed, and the mother’s every move was now under Toseland’s watchful eye, she said. Every move was orchestrated to avoid suspicion. When she wasn’t barricaded behind a door, Toseland would handcuff her to car doors, she told the court.

DEC. 16

On Dec. 16, she stopped going to work; it wasn’t by choice, grand jury documents show. She was the sole breadwinner for the family, working for a local clinical lab company. She was also going to school before the incident. But now, Toseland had full control of her life, communicating directly with her family and friends via cellphone. It was around the holidays, so when kin asked to visit, Toseland would lie about COVID-19 cases, she said. Anything to keep them away from the crime scene, she said.

According to the victim, Toseland also threatened her and her daughter. He mentioned that there are more than 500,000 missing people in the U.S. and it would be so easy to “never find” her, if she was killed.

STICKY NOTES TO SCHOOL

After months of captivity and at least three strangulations resulting in blackouts, the victim devised an escape plan, she told the court. It involved sticky notes and help from her kids’ school.

“PLEASE HELP. Took my phone months ago, pretending to be me, cameras on house (on app). He can see down street, will avoid police,” she wrote on one note, before handing it to her daughter.

Grand jury evidence shows sticky notes written by the victim in the Brandon Toseland case.
Grand jury evidence shows sticky notes written by the victim in the Brandon Toseland case.(Eighth Judicial District Court)

She asked her to hide the messages in her socks and deliver them to her teacher.

“I was trying to think of any time that we would go to a store or any chance that I got to give to someone and ultimately, the only way that I knew for sure was through my daughter,” she told the court.

Then, on Feb. 22, while out running errands, a police officer pulled over Toseland’s car with the victim inside. The notes had worked.

Authorities were able to use her clues to contact loved ones and locate the suspect.

THE CHARGES

Due to evidence presented to authorities, Toseland was charged with multiple counts, including: murder, child abuse/endangerment, neglect, first-degree kidnapping and battery by strangulation.

Photos taken at the scene show a grave-like hole had been dug in the backyard of the home, next to the family’s trampoline.

A grave-like hole located at the home of Brandon Toseland.
A grave-like hole located at the home of Brandon Toseland.(Eighth Judicial District Court)

A status check hearing in district court was set for April 15 at 8:30 a.m.