A Las Vegas mother sent her daughter to school with a note, begging to be rescued from an abusive boyfriend, which led police to find that girl's little brother dead in a freezer, authorities said Tuesday.
The gruesome discovery in northeast Las Vegas was triggered by the mom's desperate plea for help, which was read by her daughter's elementary school teacher and then passed on to police, officials said.
"That note indicated that the mom was being held against her will," Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Lt. Ray Spencer told reporters. "She also stated that she did not know the whereabouts of her preschool-aged child."
When investigators got to the home on Saddle Brook Park Drive, the mother told them she feared her 4-year-old son might be dead, officials said.
"During the course of that interview, she described that she had undergone abuse by her boyfriend, who she lived with, and had been inquiring about the whereabouts of her child and believed that the child may possibly be deceased," Spencer said.
The boyfriend, later identified as 35-year-old Brandon Toseland, had been preventing the mother from leaving the house or entering the garage — and that's where police found her son's body inside a freezer, officials said.
The mother told police she had not seen her son since Dec. 11. The boyfriend, who is not the children's father, was arrested and booked on a suspected kidnapping charge, officials said. His name has not been released.
The investigation is ongoing.
"We have a lot of questions that we still don't have the answer to," Spencer said.
Toseland has at least one previous arrest in Las Vegas, on Dec. 27, 2008, for alleged possession of a dangerous weapon after police found a pair of metal knuckles in his car, prosecutors said.
It wasn't immediately clear if Toseland had hired an attorney or been appointed one by Wednesday afternoon, the DA said.
Toseland made an initial appearance in Las Vegas Justice Court on Wednesday when kidnapping charges were read against him. Prosecutors added a murder charge later in the day.
A judge ordered him to remain in custody until his next appearance on Monday.