LAS VEGAS (AP) – A note that a Las Vegas schoolgirl gave her teacher saying her mother was being held captive and thought the girl’s brother was dead led to the discovery of the boy’s body in a garage freezer and the arrest of the mother’s boyfriend on murder and kidnapping charges, authorities said on Wednesday.
Brandon Lee Toseland, 35, was arrested on Tuesday after police saw him leave his house with the mother in a vehicle in which officers also found handcuffs, Las Vegas homicide Lieutenant Ray Spencer said.
A lawyer speaking for the woman and her family told The Associated Press she endured months in physical, sexual and emotional control of a man who told her he would kill her children if she ever left him.
More than 10 weeks after she last saw her son, she resorted to sending a message with her daughter to school.
“There was never a time when her daughter was with her that she was not locked in a room, bound or handcuffed,” attorney Stephen Stubbs said of the mother. “There was never an opportunity to take her daughter and run.”
AP is not naming the mother or children to avoid identifying a victim of sexual abuse. Stubbs said the mother does not want her name made public.
Spencer said she told detectives Toseland sometimes used restraints to keep her in his custody, and that she had not seen her four-year-old son since December 11, when she said Toseland told her the boy had become sick and “that 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.” Later, Toseland told the mother the boy was dead, police said in Toseland’s arrest report, “and said she would not be allowed to see his body because he would lose his freedom”. The report noted that Toseland never called police or paramedics.
Stubbs said the mother knew Toseland as an acquaintance of her husband, the father of her children, before the man died in January 2021 of an unspecified respiratory illness. Stubbs said the girl is now seven.
After the three moved into Toseland’s house in March 2021, he “slowly and methodically” increased control over them, Stubbs said: covering windows; using video surveillance; taking the mother’s cellphone; cutting her ties to her family; handling her social media.
“The mother was physically, sexually and emotionally abused,” Stubbs said. “The children were physically and emotionally abused and separated from their mother most of