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Mason Johnathan Naser
November 11, 2008 - February 21, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial

At the age of four years old, a child wet his pants. While most people would help the child change and let him know that accidents happen, it wasn't the case with Donika Rae Gonzalez who was the 21 year old live in girlfriend of Tyler Naser Sr, Mason Naser's father. It is reported that wetting his pants while in her care, cost Mason his life.

Reports from a sibling say that on the day of his death, Mason had been complaining of a stomach ache, in response to his telling her, Donika sent him to his room and one of the other children in the home told Donika that Mason had wet his pants. Donika went to his room and after stomping on his legs asked him if he wet his pants, Mason said no. Donika told him to get up and it was obvious that Mason was wet so she slapped him on the face and pushed him out the door. Mason was upset and didn't want to to with her, so she grabbed him his arms and pushed him to the floor, at which point, Mason's head hit the floor. Donika left Mason on the floor outside of his bedroom and went to the living room. One of Mason's siblings later told Donika that Mason was dizzy and when she went to check on him, she found him to be un- responsive and when CPR did not work, Donika went to get Tyler.

Buffalo Count Sheriff, Wayne Willman received a call at about 4:40 p.m. on February 21, 2013. Tyler called the police when Mason would not respond to him and wanted an ambulance sent to his house. Arriving at the home were William Willman and the paramedics and they learned that Tyler had taken Mason acrossed the street to another home, there, they found Mason still unresponsive, laying on his back on the floor.

Mason was taken to the Sanford Chamberlain Medical Center and at 6:14 p.m., he was pronounced dead.  Donika would later say that she was under a lot of stress and that caused her to treat Mason so badly. Donika said her stressed was caused due to the fact that she always had to take care of the children alone. Donika said that her entire life had been one big screw up and that she often got angry, but wasn't sure why she took her anger out on Mason.

At the hospital, Dr Travis Sanger took care of Mason when he arrived and said that when he got there, he was not breathing at all and had no pulse, Mason was pronounced dead less than an hour later. Mason had bruises on his face, back, arms and thighs and while some of the bruises were old, others were fresh and Mason had many fractured ribs. Internal injuries to Mason included bleeding that was caused by the fact that a piece of his liver had been broken off and gone up through his heart and lodged into his left lung, which made it impossible for him to breath. Mason's cause of death was listed as blunt force trauma to the abdomen, caused by abuse.

Since Mason is a member of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe, in South Dakota, his family was refusing to let him die in vain saying that each year there are many deaths in Indian country that are a result of child abuse and sadly, these deaths never make it to the news and are just swept under the rug. Mason's family is refusing to allow his death to go unnoticed and they want to take the opportunity to educate people about child abuse and they want the South Dakota
Social Services Department to be held accountable for what happened to this little Angel:

"He was just a little child and he didn't deserve to this happen to him. We tried
over and over to the DSS workers that there was meth being used in the home
where he was and that he had bruises on him from being abused.

Melissa Walters - Maternal Aunt

Mason is the son of Tyler Naser, a non-Native man and Angelina Walters, who is a member of the Lower Burle Sioux
Tribe and the couple had two other children together, Tyson and Tyler. Angelina was convicted in 2010 of assault on a child and was taken in to custody at the State Women's prison. When her sentence began, Tyson went to live with Mary Naser, his Grandmother, while Mason and Tyler were first placed in foster care and later released to their father.

At some point, Tyler met and began dating Donika and she would move into the home with Tyler and his children. It didn't take long for neighbors to hear that Donika was abusing the children:

"After we started hearing that they were being abused in the home, we contacted DSS and told them
that we wanted visits with the boys. When we took them to visit their mother at the prison, Tre'shawn told
his mother that Donika was beating up his brothers""
Melissa Walters - Aunt

Melissa said that DSS would not allow unsupervised visits because Tyler's family was not comfortable with them being around the children. DSS allowed the visits to take place anyway, but only at the DSS Office. During the visits, bruises were noticed on the faces of the children. Both DSS and the Lower Brule Sioux tribe were made aware of the bruises and the abuse the boys were going through.  Filing complaints didn't do any good because a Social Work, Nancy Tichy, that going out to the home wouldn't be of any benefit because the children were considered to be safe. The Lower Brule Sioux tribe refused to remove the children from the home and in fact at that point, they awarded custody to Tyler Naser.

"We reported the abuse over and over  and we even had a picture of one of those bruises he had
on his head but the state wouldn't do anything about it"
Melissa Walters

While the family was doing all they could to get help for Mason, it turned out to be too late, Mason was beaten to death in his home:

"Everyone kept telling them that this was taking place and if it would have been an Indian parent
they would have probably done something. I just don't ever want to see something like this happen
to anyone else"
Amy Sazue - Family Friend

After Mason died, Nancy Tichy resigned. A Facebook page called "Justice For Mason" was created to raise funds to help fight the cause of child abuse. Mason's three brothers helped in the cause by wearing T-shirts in support of their brother.



In April of 2013, Donika plead not guilty to counts of second degree murder and first degree manslaughter, also on table were charges of aggravated assault and felony child abuse. The charges against her were called "alternate" charges, which meant that the jury could find her guilty on only one of the charges and if she was convicted on the charged of murder, she would spend the rest of her life in prison. During her court appearance her lawyer, Donna Bucher, requested that her cash bond of $30,000. be reduced:

"She's never failed to appear in court. Donika is pregnant with her baby due in June and there
are issues with nutrition that are ongoing"

Donna wanted Donika to be able to post only 10% of her bond, be on house arrest and stay with a family member. County State's Attorney, David Natvig, was asking Judge Bruce Anderson to raise the bond to $1 million dollars since the death of Mason was such a heinous crime adding that the reservation Donika would be staying on, which was some distance away, would make it harder for her to make her court dates. Judge Bruce Anderson said that the bond would remain at $30,000. and stated that proper medical care and diet would be provided and tracked by the sheriff's office:

"I want to be make sure everyone is paying close attention to her medical needs under these
circumstances. I don't want anything with respect to that pregnancy overlooked. I can't make that
clear enough today"
Judge Bruce Anderson

Also in April of 2013, the Justice For Mason page was created on Facebook by Melissa Walters and her co-worker and friend, Amy Sazue, to get the message out about how the family felt that DSS and the Lower Brule Sioux tribe had failed Mason and his siblings. The intentions of the women was to stop Mason's siblings from being placed back into the home with Tyler. The page has evolved into a place where people can read about Mason's life and donate to the cause of preventing child abuse. A quilt was sold and the proceeds were used to help their cause. Melissa has been given custody of Mason's siblings and had two children already being raised in her home.

OBITUARY

Mason J. Naser
(November 17, 2008 - February 21, 2013)

Funeral services for Mason Naser, 4, of Gann Valley, SD will be Tuesday, February 26, 2013 at 1:00 pm at the Diamond Willow in Fort Thompson with burial in the Christ Episcopal Cemetery at Fort Thompson. A prayer service will be held Sunday at 7:00 pm at the Hickey Funeral Chapel in Chamberlain. Wake services will be Monday evening at 8:00 pm at the Holy Comforter Episcopal Church in Lower Brule.
 
 Mason Jonathan Naser was born November 17, 2008 at Mitchell, SD to Tyler Edwin Naser, Sr. and Angelina “Angel” Walters. Mason lived in Gann Valley with his dad, brothers, sister and grandparents. Mason loved his brothers and enjoyed spending his days playing with cars and legos and best of all riding his John Deere tractor with his brothers. He also loved playing barbs with Taylor when she would visit. Mason also loved to be in the tractor feeding cows with his daddy.

Mason passed away on February 21, 2013 at Sanford Medical Center in Chamberlain at the tender age of 4 years. Honored to have shared those years are his parents Angelina Walters of Pierre and Tyler Naser, Sr. of Gann Valley; three brothers and two sisters Treshawn Walters, Tyler, Tyson, Taylor, and Tika Naser; his grandparents Myron Walters, Ardis Marshall and John and Mary Naser; and a host of aunts, uncles, and cousins. Preceding him in death were his uncle Travis Naser and great grandmothers Glenda Hill and Caroline Jones.
 
Mason was a beautiful angel loved by all who are blessed to have met him.



Tre'Shawn, Tyler and Tyson visiting the grave of their brother.

UPDATE:

In April of 2014, Donika Gonzalez, who was 23 years old at the time, was convicted for first degree manslaughter and aggravated assault. Donika was facing life in prison for manslaughter and up to 15 years for the assault and was expected to be sentenced in July.

A recording was played in court of Donika saying she had hit Mason because he wouldn't use the potty.

Malissa Walters, Mason's Aunt, had been working for over a year at that time to spread child abuse awareness and prevention using her Facebook page "Justice For Mason":

"Mason's getting his justice. I couldn't be happier"

Malissa was granted custody of all of Nathan's brothers and is now raising them.

As of today's date, June 13, 2014, I have read reports stating that Donika was sent to prison, but I am unable to find out for how long.

This page was created on March 13, 2014
Death occurred in the state of South Dakota

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