LAS VEGAS — A September 20, 2018 text message obtained by the Baltimore Post-Examiner, sent by Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) Homicide Detective Mitchell Dosch, confirms that Las Vegas Township Judge Melanie Andress-Tobiasson was telling the truth about being outed by Vice Detectives.
The text message that was sent to Connie Land, whose daughter Sydney, along with her boyfriend Nehemiah ‘Neo” Kauffman, were both found murdered, shot in the head, in their Las Vegas apartment on October 27, 2016.
Dosch texted: “That interview was done by Vice Detectives who outed the judge in the interview. We believe that’s when the judge became furious with the department and her tone changed and she would not even allow us to interview her daughter.”
Tobiasson told the Baltimore Post-Examiner last year that on October 25, 2016 at 4:30 p.m. she and her daughter were outed as a source of information by LVMPD Vice Detective Justine Gadus, putting their lives in danger. According to Tobiasson she had been providing information to Vice Detectives starting in 2015 about under-age prostitution and that Shane Valentine, a known pimp, tried to recruit her daughter Sarah into the sex-trafficking trade.
Tobiasson said that after being outed, eight hours later on the morning of October 26, 2016 at 12:30 a.m. Sydney Land and Nehemiah Kauffman were executed as a direct result of her and her daughter being outed the previous evening and that it was her and her daughter that were meant to be killed and not Land and Kauffman.
Tobiasson did not tell the Baltimore Post-Examiner the reason why Land and Kauffman ended up dead and not her and her daughter.
To this day neither the Las Vegas Metro Police or the Las Vegas Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), who Tobiasson said she spoke to, have disputed what Tobiasson told Baltimore Post-Examiner. Tobiasson is not only a sitting judge, but she is also a former Clark County Assistant District Attorney.
Tobiasson stated during our interview with her and in follow-up emails, that she was receiving confidential information from LVMPD Homicide Detective Jarrod Grimmett concerning the Land/Kauffman murders and that Grimmett told her that Shane Valentine, Dominique ‘Domo” Thompson and Frankie Zappia had committed the murders.
As we have reported in several previous stories and corroborated through supporting evidence, Tobiasson, in the early part of 2017 reached out and befriended Connie Land. It was during that time that Tobiasson asked Land to turn over copies of all of Land’s communication with Dosch. In a series of bizarre events, Tobiasson convinced Land that she could not trust Dosch, only Grimmett, and that Land was under police surveillance and that they needed to use burner phones to communicate with each other.
According to Land, Tobiasson said she had a friend in the FBI and led Land to believe that the murders of her daughter and Kauffman would be investigated by the FBI. The Baltimore Post-Examiner in a prior story earlier this year published a letter that Connie Land later received from FBI Special Agent Richard Smith indicating that the FBI was not investigating her daughter’s death.
On April 12, 2018 KLAS-TV 8NewsNow Las Vegas, aired an interview with Judge Tobiasson in which she related how LVMPD Vice Detectives failed to follow-up on information that she was providing them concerning after-hours unlicensed clubs that were fronts for prostitution. Tobiasson stated that she was in fear for her safety, not from pimps but from the police.
As we previously reported in another story, the morning after that segment aired on television, Connie Land was contacted by FBI Las Vegas Division Special Agent Vinitha Pandy, who asked Land to turn over the cellphone that she used to communicate with Tobiasson. Pandy, according to Land, investigated human trafficking for the FBI. The FBI had possession of Land’s cellphone for several months before it was finally returned to Land.
The following excerpts are from Tobiasson’s recorded interview with the Baltimore Post-Examiner:
“The following week which would have been the first week of October 2016, they come to my office. And it’s [LVMPD Vice Detectives] Al Beas, Kelly Bluth, and Greg Flores. And I give them information on a girl. …who’s friends with my daughter. I give them her name, her dad’s name, all of her information, and again, I give them Shane’s information, where he lived, what his story is.”
“Now, I have said to them when I gave them this information, every time I gave them information, I said, my daughter could never know I’m giving you information. If she finds out she’ll never talk to me again, and I’ll never get the information again and, you know, she might just be so pissed off, she will never talk to me again anyway.”
“October 25, 2016, at 4:30 in the afternoon I get a phone call from Detective Van Cleef, and he’s frantic, and he says we have a problem. I said what’s the problem. He said I was asked to sit in on an interview today. He goes, I sit down, and the girl comes into the interview and the detective who’s questioning her, is a detective by the name of Justine Gadus. Of all of them, she should not, she should be in prison for what she did to me and my daughter.”
The judge said she was then outed as the source of confidential information to the girl who knew pimps. (The girl has no criminal record.)
“I get the call from Van Cleef, who is beside himself, he goes I don’t know what to do. I said, “how about you get the fuck back in there and fix this.” I go, she just put a fucking target on my daughter. You don’t think this guy is going to kill me? He’s not going to kill me; he’s going to kill my kid.” I go, “what is wrong with you people?” I said there is no way that this was an accident. I go, no vice detective, I don’t care if they’ve been there for one day, would do that by accident. I go, this was intentional. So, he goes back into the interview. He calls me when the interview is over and he’s like, “well we talked to her and we told her not to talk to your daughter about it.” I said, “Are you an idiot?” I go, “she’s on the phone with my daughter right now, I go in fact I bet in thirty-seconds I have a call from my daughter.” Sure as shit I get a text message from my daughter. “Are you serious, you called the police on us?” So, I bring my daughter and the (cop’s daughter) to my house, I tell them you need to get to my house right now, you’re not safe.”
“I plan to give them the song and dance because I don’t really want to tell them yet, you know, I don’t want to admit to them that at this point I’ve been bringing information to the cops because you know, they’re still young and there still, I don’t want to lose my connection with them. Especially right now. So, I give them a song and dance about why the police would do this. I make it very clear to them, that they are not safe. When Van Cleef calls me back, he and Justine want to meet with me and my daughter. I told him basically, I don’t want to tell you what I said, but it wasn’t very nice. And I said you guys have a reason for doing what you did, and I don’t know what it is, but I said if something happens to my daughter, we’re going to have a real big fucking problem.”
“So, that night, unbeknownst to me at this time, the (cop’s daughter) leaves my house, and she Tweets, she puts out a Tweet about the fact that she was called in and questioned by Vice, okay. Now, unfortunately at this point, (she) is no longer associated with Shane Valentine, she was associated with Neo Kauffman. Like I said, they had had a beef because Shane was upset that Neo was taking Shane’s girls.”
Shane did it, Judges’ daughter says
“Here’s what happened. They find the bodies Thursday morning, two days after they’ve been killed. They know immediately that Shane is one of the suspects, OK. So, Friday night, they find the bodies Thursday morning [October 27, 2016]. Friday night at midnight I come home from a concert and my daughter comes to me and she says, “mom I got to talk to you, she said you know that double homicide where my friend Neo got shot, I said yeah, she says, “Shane did it.” And I don’t even ask her how she knows. For some reason, all the kids on the street know everything and the cops don’t know shit.”
“So, I texted Detective Van Cleef. I said you got any intel on the suspect in the double homicide, knowing that they knew, and he goes “yeah I heard about that yesterday morning.” So I called him, and I said, “you knew yesterday morning that Shane Valentine was a suspect in this double homicide that happened eight hours after you outed me as a source of information putting my daughter’s life in danger and you didn’t think that maybe I should get a heads up. That maybe someone should have called me and told me, that he was a suspect in this double homicide.” And I told him Tuesday when I said to him, I go Shane Valentine is a murder waiting to happen, it better not fucking be my daughter. So, within eight hours, I was proven right because Shane Valentine was involved in the double homicide of these two kids. So, he says to me, “oh, you guys aren’t in danger, you know he’s on the run, he’s not worried about you guys.” And I said let me explain something to you, he’s already killed two people, you think he gives a shit about two more. I said apparently nobody cares about the crimes he commits so he probably doesn’t have to worry about it.”
“The first detective who is investigating the case, thank God is someone who knows me and respects me, and I have a good relationship with. He tells me for the first three or four weeks after the murders while Shane is on the run, what information they have and what proof they have that Shane’s involved.”
“And they know that the fact that they outed me, got two people killed. It wasn’t the two people they were trying to get killed, me and my daughter, but it got two people killed. I tell you; [Sheriff] Joe [Lombardo] does not want this story out there.”
“I told you about the detective that was originally on the case he told me all the evidence they had that showed it was Shane, Domo and Frankie.”
“And up until the minute that they found out that I was talking to the FBI, Shane was a suspect. The minute they found out I was talking to the FBI they do a press conference saying he’s not a suspect. The problem is they don’t know that I know what evidence they have. Chances are they destroyed it by now.”
Tobiasson also told the Baltimore Post-Examiner during our interview with her last year that she was providing information to FBI Special Agent Kevin White. Tobiasson said there came a time when White told her that then Assistant Sheriff Todd Fasulo, third in command of the LVMPD had called his boss, then FBI Assistant Special-Agent-In-Charge Patrick Brodsky, and had White pulled from talking to Tobiasson. For further on this read our August 29 story, ‘Judge: FBI agent couldn’t trust FBI Las Vegas Division.’
Who are the suspects in the murders?
On November 16, 2016, News3 Las Vegas reported that Metro police were looking at Shane Valentine as a person of interest in the Land/Kauffman murders. News3 reported that they had obtained a police report that revealed that two of Kauffman’s friends told police that Valentine was a possible suspect in the murders.
On January 2, 2017, Dosch informed Connie Land, Sydney Land’s mother, that “If Valentine is the person responsible for the murders, then we need to build a better case against him. If he is not the suspect, then we need the people to come forward with that info, which hasn’t occurred.”
March 19, 2017, Dosch tells Land that they will not let the case go cold.
April 15, 2017, Dosch tells Land that they are stuck until people come forward.
April 24, 2017, Dosch tells Land, “The person who is closest to being named as the suspect is Shane. I may eventually charge him with the incident but not right now.” Then Dosch tells Land, “Shane is still a suspect until I say he’s not.”
May 10, 2017, Dosch tells Land, “That’s all I can do. Either somebody else eventually turns up or we build a better case against Shane.”
June 29, 2017, Dosch tells Land, “Regrettably I do not feel closer. Patience is the key. I’d like to think I’m going to solve the murder, but I cannot say when. It could be months or even years. We’ve talked about this fact extensively and it’s a matter of someone being compelled to share information that normally they would not share.”
August 12, 2017, Dosch tells Land the case is on-going.
A November 15, 2017, Las Vegas Sun article about the murders quoted then LVMPD Homicide Lt. Dan McGrath, speaking of Shane Valentine, “At this time we can say he is not our suspect.”
March 11, 2018, Sgt. Craig Lucignot tells Land, “We are at the same place, haven’t move forward at this time, we have not moved forward on the case, nothing new. There is not currently anything to update.”
March 23, 2018, Lucignot tells Land, “Your case is not in the cold case unit.”
In the morning of April 27, 2018, Dosch texted Connie Land, “So many things happened since the murder happened that I’ve never seen before and I had zero control over. I won’t get into them, but they are well chronicled. Det. Grimmett and I are left to pick up the pieces and work toward a successful outcome despite all the “things” that have happened along to way. We are not going away.”
(That statement right there is so damning. What happened after the murders that according to Dosch they have to pick up the pieces? That statement tells me that something went critically wrong that corrupted the investigation. More on this later).
On the evening of April 27, 2018, Crime Watch Daily aired their story on the Land/Kauffman murders on television. LVMPD Homicide Detective Jarrod Grimmett said, “Everything looked like Shane Valentine may have been our guy.” “You talk about DNA being in the apartment, there’s all kinds of stuff you know, so, who knows what was supposed to be there and what wasn’t supposed to be there.” “We’re not really going to talk about Domo [Dominique Thompson, Frankie Zappia’s pimp].” LVMPD Homicide Detective Mitchell Dosch said on the show, “It appears he [Valentine] may not have been the shooter, the possibility remains he was aware of what was going to happen or what happened immediately thereafter.”
A June 6, 2018 Nevada Current article about Shane Valentine states that LVMPD Press Information Officer Larry Hadfield was quoted, “He’s still involved in the investigation.”
A June 7, 2018, Nevada Current article states that a Metro Police spokesperson identified Frankie Zappia and Dominique Thompson as suspects in the double homicide.
On October 25, 2018, Metro Homicide Lt. Ray Spencer at a press briefing on the unsolved murders said, “We have not ruled out Shane Valentine as a suspect, we are still looking at him as a person of interest in this case.”
Spencer’s comment seems confusing. If you haven’t ruled out someone as a suspect in a crime, then they are indeed a suspect. In this case, Spencer said Valentine is not only a suspect but also a person of interest.
You have to be very careful when you are in law enforcement and label someone as either a suspect or a person of interest. It can also hurt your case if charges are ever brought through the criminal justice system.
There is a distinct difference between those two terms. A person of interest is someone who you believe has information pertinent to the crime you are investigating. A suspect is the person who you believe committed the crime.
That was the last official word that we have heard from the police on the Land/Kauffman murders and we are quickly approaching the third anniversary of this unsolved double homicide.
Former Metro Police Vice Detective Chris Baughman connected to Kauffman family
The Baltimore Post-Examiner has obtained information that former Las Vegas Metro Police Vice Detective Christopher Baughman, who was at the center of an FBI federal corruption probe along with some current and former members of the LVMPD, was a close friend of the ex-husband of Alethea Kauffman, the mother of Nehemiah Kauffman.
From what we were told, years ago when Baughman was still on the force, he and other LVMPD police officers would play flag football with local Las Vegas pimps on Sundays and then afterwards they would all go to the Kauffman residence and party.
Alethea Kauffman, a convicted felon for fraud who is currently on probation, has been divorced from her husband for several years.
This developing information is currently being explored by the Baltimore Post-Examiner. This new twist in the story raises questions including why active-duty police officers would have been associating with known criminals and persons of ill-repute, a violation of police departmental policy.
Nehemiah Kauffman was a 20-year-old-pimp. Could there be a connection with the pimps that frequented his home years ago? Who, if anybody was mentoring and coaching Kauffman in his sex-trafficking trade?
The Baltimore Post-Examiner has published several stories on the FBI corruption probe and Christopher Baughman. For further read our June 21 story, ‘Las Vegas police and prosecutorial corruption, misconduct forefront of sex-trafficker’s appeal’.
No current or former member of the LVMPD to date has been charged in relation to the corruption probe and neither the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Nevada nor the FBI Las Vegas Division have commented on the investigation.
The LVMPD Homicide Bureau has one of the highest homicide closure rates in the country and give them credit for going back to the Kauffman residence after the murders and retrieving the bullet that Shane Valentine fired into the residence on October 8, 2016, which is the charge that resulted in Valentine being currently incarcerated for. But as the Baltimore Post-Examiner reported earlier, why that bullet was not recovered by the crime scene analyst on October 8, 2016 raises some serious questions.
That aside, some of their investigative techniques in this almost three-year-old unsolved double homicide case are questionable.
Why was a homicide detective leaking confidential details about this case to Judge Tobiasson?
Why did homicide detectives appear on Crime Watch Daily last year and release crime scene photographs including pictures of the bodies and details of DNA evidence to the public when this case has yet to be solved, possibly compromising the ongoing investigation by doing so?
The approval for the content of what was released concerning the police criminal investigation of the double homicide to Crime Watch Daily came directly from the Office of Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo, the head of the LVMPD. We would be interested in Lombardo’s explanation for this as to why he compromised the integrity of an ongoing investigation.
Just as disturbing, if not more so, is the comment made by Det. Dosch to Connie Land in the text message on the morning of April 27, 2018: “So many things happened since the murder happened that I’ve never seen before and I had zero control over. I won’t get into them, but they are well chronicled. Det. Grimmett and I are left to pick up the pieces and work toward a successful outcome despite all the “things” that have happened along to way. We are not going away.”
It would be interesting to review the investigative report listing those yet to be identified as well-chronicled “things.”
Whoever the police believe to be suspects in this case, Shane Valentine, Dominique Thompson and or Frankie Zappia, apparently there is insufficient evidence against any of them to forward the case to the District Attorney’s Office for prosecution since nobody has been charged.
Then again, there is always the possibility that those three individuals were not involved in the murders at all.
One can presume that the police might have been going on the hopes that while Valentine and Thompson are incarcerated someone would come forward with incriminating evidence against them.
Shane Valentine is awaiting the decision of the Nevada Parole Board as to whether he will be paroled this month. If he is granted parole, then he’s back on the street. Dominique Thompson is scheduled to be released from federal prison in January 2020. Time is running out.
And one other notable mention. If Judge Tobiasson was telling the truth about what Grimmett told her that after the murders in 2016 the police had all the evidence that showed Valentine, Thompson and Zappia executed Land and Kauffman, then why weren’t they charged back then, and what happened to the incriminating evidence against them?
You don’t have to be a criminology professor to figure out something appears suspect in this investigation, no pun intended.
Nehemiah Kauffman was a pimp and according to the police was engaged in other criminal activity. His girlfriend Sydney Land, was most likely involved in criminal activity with Kauffman, to what extent though, we do not know.
Regardless of what Land and Kauffman were into, the fact remains murder is murder and the killer and or killers are still out there and need to be caught. That is all that matters.
The Baltimore Post-Examiner is awaiting comment from the LVMPD
On October 10, the Baltimore Post-Examiner sent the following media request for comment to the LVMPD Public Information Office:
The comments made by Las Vegas Township Judge Melanie Andress-Tobiasson during our May 2018 on-the-record recorded interview with her concerning the Land/Kauffman murders, that Shane Valentine, Dominique Thompson and Frankie Zappia executed Sydney Land and Nehemiah Kauffman, and the information that she stated came from Det. Grimmett, that the police had all the evidence that showed those three individuals committed the murders, is what she described correct or was she not telling the truth.
The Baltimore Post-Examiner would like a comment from the LVMPD by close of business on Monday October 14, 2019, as that will be the deadline for an upcoming article.
If we fail to hear a reply, we will take a no comment response as an admission that what Judge Tobiasson said is factually correct under the eyes of the LVMPD.
The Baltimore Post-Examiner does not have high hopes that we will get a response from the LVMPD. After all, as Lombardo stated last week, he believes that more often than not the media is your enemy.
Check out the Podcast: The Trail Went Cold.
Doug authored over 135 articles on the October 1, 2017 Las Vegas Massacre, more than any other single journalist in the country. He investigates stories on corruption, law enforcement and crime. Doug is a US Army Military Police Veteran, former police officer, deputy sheriff and criminal investigator. Doug spent 20 years in the hotel/casino industry as an investigator and then as Director of Security and Surveillance. He also spent a short time with the US Dept. of Homeland Security, Transportation Security Administration. In 1986 Doug was awarded Criminal Investigator of the Year by the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office in Virginia for his undercover work in narcotics enforcement. In 1992 and 1993 Doug testified in court that a sheriff’s office official and the county prosecutor withheld exculpatory evidence during the 1988 trial of a man accused of the attempted murder of his wife. Doug’s testimony led to a judge’s decision to order the release of the man from prison in 1992 and awarded him a new trial, in which he was later acquitted. As a result of Doug breaking the police “blue wall of silence,” he was fired by the county sheriff. His story was featured on Inside Edition, Current Affair and CBS News’ “Street Stories with Ed Bradley”. In 1992 after losing his job, at the request of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Doug infiltrated a group of men who were plotting the kidnapping of a Dupont fortune heir and his wife. Doug has been a guest on national television and radio programs speaking on the stories he now writes as an investigative journalist.