LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The Las Vegas man accused of killing a 4-year-old boy and concealing his body in a freezer claims the boy's mother knew about his death and helped hide it.
The accusation is according to a counter-claim filed by attorneys representing Brandon Toseland.
Toseland, 35, is charged with the murder of his girlfriend's son, Mason Dominguez. He's been indicted for murder, child abuse, kidnapping, and domestic violence.
In the court filing recently obtained by 13 Action News, Toseland's attorneys pushed back on claims that Toseland held Mason's mother, Dahsia Maldonado, captive in his home and that she didn't know what happened to her son.
Maldonado and her children moved in with Toseland when he purchased his home in northeast Las Vegas, near Carey Ave. and Lamb Boulevard, near the end of February 2021. Toseland's attorneys note that his two children from a previous relationship also stayed in the home part of the time, due to his shared custody with their mother.
In her grand jury testimony, Maldonado said her relationship with Toseland was good for the first several months they lived together, but in September, things started to turn sour. She told jurors she spent the months leading up to her son's death being controlled, abused and threatened by Toseland.
Maldonado testified that she found out her son was dead on Dec. 17, after fighting for days to get information about what happened to him after Toseland took him into a bedroom and wouldn't let her see him again. She said Toseland finally snapped as she tried to beat down the door, bound her arms and legs, and confessed that her son was dead.
In their counter-claim, Toseland's attorneys argue Maldonado knew her son was dead on Dec. 10, and that she and Toseland "made the joint determination at that time that they would preserve Mason until, inter alia, they could accumulate the funds to bury him."
According to an arrest report, Toseland told Maldonado that Mason's death was "an accident" — that he found the child not breathing and attempted CPR, but could not save him.
From the moment she learned of Mason's death, Maldonado said she never got access to her phone and was kept barricaded in the master bedroom. She told the jury she was never left alone, and was handcuffed in the car whenever she and Toseland would run errands.
Over the next two months, Maldonado testified she was able to gradually write distress notes. It wasn't until the night of Feb. 21 that she was able to give them to her daughter to bring to school the next day, she said, because the two were so rarely left alone together.
Toseland was arrested on Feb. 22 after Maldonado sent her daughter to school with notes in her sock, and the girl's teacher called 911. It was then that police discovered Mason's body in a plastic bag inside a freezer in Toseland's garage.
At the time, Toseland had Maldonado's phone, and police found a set of handcuffs in the car that Maldonado said were used to keep her there when they went out.
In their counter-claim, Toseland's attorneys said the handcuffs were "sometimes used while engaged in sexual activities." They also state that Maldonado and Toseland routinely checked each other's phones.
An autopsy of Mason's body found signs of repeated abuse, including injuries to the 4-year-old's face, arms, stomach, and head. Parts of his small intestine were ripped, prosecutors said. As of this report, the medical examiner had not determined Mason's official cause of death.
Detectives also found a large hole in Toseland's backyard, which they suspected could have been used as a grave.
After Mason's death, Toseland and Maldonado told their other children and family members that Mason was staying with a grandparent, the filing states.
Toseland's attorneys say the couple's life continued as normal after Mason died, and allege that Maldonado "concurred and colluded in the couple's joint decision to place her then-deceased son, Mason, in the freezer in the garage in the home."
13 Action News contacted Maldonado's attorney for her response to these claims, but had not heard back as of this report.
Prosecutors said Toseland went to "incredible lengths" to try and conceal the murder he's charged with, and they will consider the death penalty in his case.
He was previously indicted on 10 charges, including murder, kidnapping, child abuse, and domestic battery. He's been held without bail in the Clark County Detention Center since his Feb. 22 arrest.
For continuing coverage of this case, visit ktnv.com/ChildHomicide.