LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — A Las Vegas woman is suing the man accused of holding her against her will for months and murdering her 4-year-old son.
Attorneys filed the civil lawsuit Thursday on behalf of Dahsia Maldonado, seeking monetary damages for the wrongful death of her son Mason Dominguez.
Dominguez's body was found in a freezer in Brandon Toseland's home on Feb. 22 after police say Maldonado sent her 7-year-old daughter to school with notes pleading for help.
Allegations laid out by Maldonado's attorneys are similar to those laid out in a criminal complaint charging Toseland with murder and kidnapping.
According to the lawsuit, Toseland systematically gained control over Maldonado and her children in the months after she moved in with him following her husband's death. Her attorneys allege Toseland cut Maldonado off from her family and monitored her cell phone, often responding to text messages on her behalf.
They argue Toseland further controlled Maldonado and her children by placing video cameras throughout the home and monitoring their behavior. Criminal charging documents state video cameras and surveillance systems were present throughout Toseland's home in east Las Vegas.
Toseland allegedly kept Maldonado and her children separated, locking them in different rooms of the home.
After Maldonado and her children moved in with Toseland, she started to notice bruises on her son's body, the lawsuit states. Toseland allegedly told her they were the result of Mason's clumsiness.
In early December, Mason is said to have become ill. The lawsuit and charging documents allege Toseland separated Maldonado from Mason and said he would take care of the boy.
Maldonado became "increasingly upset" at not seeing her son in the days that followed, before Toseland allegedly told her Mason had died, "and that it was accidental," the lawsuit states. He also used her cell phone to contact her employer and tell them she would be quitting her job, the suit alleges.
After Mason's disappearance, Toseland would not allow Maldonado to leave the house and would handcuff her to the car seat if he ever took her out with him, according to the lawsuit.
He also allegedly separated Maldonado and her daughter "at all times other than when he was directly present so that he could ensure that they did not speak to one another about anything consequential to him," lawyers state.
Maldonado became increasingly fearful that Toseland would harm her daughter and, "over a period of weeks," began writing the "SOS" notes she would eventually send with her daughter to school, the complaint states. She would do this using sticky notes in the car during the few minutes when Toseland was walking her daughter into elementary school.
Eventually, on Feb. 20 and 21, Toseland allowed Maldonado to spend the night with her daughter, "for reasons unknown," the complaint states. Maldonado used this time to whisper instructions to her daughter about the notes she needed the girl to give to her teacher, and that is was important Toseland not find out about them, according to the complaint.
Since there was no school on Feb. 21, Maldonado helped her daughter slip the notes in her sock as the 7-year-old got ready for school on Feb. 22.
Her daughter gave the notes to her teacher, who contacted police and set in motion the events that would bring investigators to Toseland's home on Feb. 22, resulting in his arrest and the discovery of 4-year-old Mason's body.
Maldonado's civil complaint accused Toseland of Mason's wrongful death, the false imprisonment of her and her daughter, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and negligence.
She is seeking a trial by jury and damages of at least $30,000, according to the complaint.
Scott Coffee, the public defender representing Toseland in the criminal case against him, said he wasn't aware that Toseland had hired an attorney to represent him in the civil litigation. Coffee said he would review evidence from the civil case, including any depositions, in his defense of Toseland.
As of this report, the results of an autopsy of Mason's body had not been made public, and his official cause of death had not been released.
- National Domestic Violence helpline: 1-800-799-7233
- Crisis Support Services of Nevada domestic violence hotline: 775-221-7600 (or text SASS to 839863)