The Associated Press, KEN RITTER
Authorities said Wednesday a note that a Las Vegas schoolgirl gave her teacher saying she was being held captive and thought the girl's brother was dead. The boy's body was discovered in a garage freezer and the arrest of the mother's boyfriend on murder and kidnapping charges.
Brandon Lee Toseland, 35, was arrested Tuesday after being seen leaving his house with the mother in a vehicle where officers found handcuffs, according to the homicide commissioner.
A lawyer who spoke for the woman and her family told The Associated Press that she was trapped for months in physical, sexual, and emotional control of a man who told her that he would kill her children if she had left him.
She returned to school about ten weeks after she last saw her son.
There was never a time when her daughter was with her that she was not locked in a room, bound or handcuffed, said the mother. There was never a chance to take her daughter and run.
To avoid identifying a victim of sexual assault, the AP does not disclose the mother or children. Stubbs said the mother does not want her name to be made public.
Spencer said she told detectives Toseland used reprimands to keep her in his custody, and that she had not seen her 4-year-old son since Dec. 11, when she told him that her boy had become sick and "it was too late."
I remember that quote, Spencer told AP. There are still a lot of questions that we don't have answers to.
According to Toseland's arrest report, "he would not be permitted to see his body because he would lose his freedom," according to reports. Never called police or paramedics.
Stubbs said the mother was aware of Toseland as an acquaintance of her husband, the father of her children, before the man died in January 2021 of an unidentified respiratory illness. Stubbs said the girl is now seven years old.
After the three moved to Toseland's house in March 2021, he "slowly and methodically" increased control over them, he said, covering windows, using video surveillance, taking the mother's cellphone, cutting her attachments to her family, and manipulating her social media.
"The mother was physically, sexually, and emotionally abused," Stubbs said. "They were often physically and emotionally abused and separated from their mother."
Before Stubbs said her work was received a text message that she decided to quit.
Though handcuffed during vehicle trips, the mother discovered a pen and a pad of sticky notes in the car and was able, when Toseland wasn't looking, "to write notes, little by little, and hide them," Stubbs said in a statement. On Tuesday, her daughter was able to send nine small notes to her teacher.
Police said the notes allege the woman was being held against her will, "did not know the whereabouts of her toddler," and he suspects the child would have died.
According to authorities, a woman told detectives she was being abused by Toseland and was not permitted to leave the house alone or enter the garage.
Spencer said detectives obtained a search warrant before finding the deceased boy's body. Toseland, according to property records, owns the two-story, three-bedroom stucco house.
Police in Clark County School District have declined to specify the boy's sister's grade or identify the elementary school where he said the teacher gave the note to officers who provided the notification.
Toseland made an initial court appearance Wednesday on two felony kidnapping charges before a Las Vegas judge who ordered him to remain jailed pending a Thursday appearance on an open murder charge. It was unclear if Toseland hired a lawyer to represent him.
Wednesday, an attorney who represented Toseland when he filed no contest to a misdemeanor domestic battery in Las Vegas did not immediately respond to AP calls.
Spencer said police were still gathering evidence in the case. He said the boy's body was intact, but contained visible damage that led investigators to believe he was physically abused. Spencer declined to describe the injuries.
Stubbs said the boy's sister described severe bruises, and Spencer said the mother told police that Toseland "was much disciplining the boy."
The Clark County coroner will determine a cause of death.
Spencer said he didn't know when Toseland was hired.