LAS VEGAS — A young boy was found dead Tuesday in a freezer at a Las Vegas home after his sister handed her elementary school teacher an alarming note that would prompt a homicide investigation.
In the note, the children’s mother wrote that her boyfriend was holding her against her will inside their home, according to Las Vegas homicide Lt. Ray Spencer.
“She stated that she didn’t know where her younger child was,” Spencer said of the note’s contents, “and that she believed he was deceased.”
The teacher alerted authorities shortly after 8 a.m. Tuesday, prompting a team of Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department officers to begin surveilling the family’s home in northeast Las Vegas.
By 10 a.m., the children’s mother and her boyfriend, identified in court records as Brandon Toseland, were seen leaving the house inside a vehicle.
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Police pulled the car over in the neighborhood and detained Toseland, 35, while the woman was interviewed by officers.
The woman, who has not been identified, said she had last seen her son on Dec. 11 and described to the officers months of alleged abuse by her boyfriend, Spencer said.
“She said she was not allowed to leave the house alone or go into the garage,” according to Spencer.
Shortly after the traffic stop, Toseland, who is not the father of the children, was arrested and booked into the Clark County Detention Center in downtown Las Vegas on two counts of first-degree kidnapping.
Authorities are working to file a murder charge in the case. Toseland is expected to be rebooked into the detention center on Wednesday on the charge.
Toseland has a history of arrests in Las Vegas dating back to at least 2005 on charges including domestic battery and disorderly conduct, court records show.
In the meantime, Spencer and his team searched the home after securing a search warrant Tuesday afternoon, finding the boy’s body in the freezer.
The freezer was in the garage, where the woman said she was not allowed to enter.
Spencer, who called the case “such a tragic situation,” did not release details Tuesday about how the boy may have died. The Clark County coroner’s office will identify the child and determine his cause and manner of death.
Toseland made his first court appearance on Wednesday.
As of Tuesday evening, detectives did not consider the children’s mother to be involved in the death.
“But it’s still early on,” Spencer said, “and there are a lot of questions that we still have to answer about what occurred over the last three months.”
The woman’s daughter was placed in the care of relatives on Tuesday.
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Rio Lacanlale is the Las Vegas correspondent for the Reno Gazette Journal and the USA Today Network. Contact her at email@example.com or on Twitter @riolacanlale.
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