November 11, 2008 -
February 21, 2013
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
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.
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
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
where he was and that he had bruises on him from being abused.
Melissa Walters -
Mason is the son of Tyler Naser, a
non-Native man and Angelina Walters, who is a member of the Lower
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
that we wanted visits
with the boys. When we took them to visit their mother at the prison,
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
on his head but the
state wouldn't do anything about it"
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
they would have
probably done something. I just don't ever want to see something like
to anyone else"
Amy Sazue - Family
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
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
clear enough today"
Judge Bruce Anderson
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.
(November 17, 2008 -
February 21, 2013)
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
page was created on March 13, 2014
occurred in the state of South Dakota
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