Who was Melanie Andress-Tobiasson? Judge found dead amidst ethics investigation

Who was Melanie Andress-Tobiasson? Judge found dead amidst ethics investigation
Tobiasson claimed that she had been trying to protect her daughter (YouTube/KTNV Channel 13 Las Vegas)

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA: A Las Vegas judge took her own life a year after resigning from her duties to avoid getting involved in an ethics investigation. 53-year-old Melanie Andress-Tobiasson stepped down as a Justice of the Peace before a hearing regarding the ethics probe. She alleged that she was trying to protect her daughter, Sarah, from prostitution after she started working at a clothing store she considered a hub for criminal activities. However, the trial of her alleged conduct was dropped after she decided to quit in 2021. 

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Although it is not known where or how she died, the body of the former judge was discovered on Friday, January 20, according to the reports of 8NewsNow. Prior to her death, the mother of three was living with her husband Todd at her $ 2 million five-bedroom mansion in Las Vegas. Nevada's Judicial Discipline Commission investigated Tobiasson for almost a couple of years, after requesting police to investigate a clothing store where her daughter worked. 

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The store which is named Top Knotch was reportedly being used as a front for illegal activities and the judge's daughter Sarah was being recruited as a prostitute. She claimed that she tried to save her daughter from sex trafficking and also blamed the Las Vegas Metro Police Department for ignoring the information she provided. 

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Sarah, who was 16 at the time, said that she was terrified of Shane Valentine who ran the store. Tobiasson said that the store was an unlicensed, underage nightclub and a place for prostitution. After the local police failed to take any action regarding the matter, the judge said that she was forced to take help from the FBI but much to her surprise, officers started investigating her for allegedly breaching judicial rules after discovering she had repeated claims to federal agents.

Sydney Land, 21, and Nehemiah 'Neo' Kauffman, 20 (GoFundMe)
Sydney Land, 21, and Nehemiah 'Neo' Kauffman, 20 (GoFundMe)

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After the original complaint, police tracked her phone and claimed she was interfering with a vice investigation. Tobiasson claimed that the pimps were "targeting the daughters of judges and law enforcement" in a way to get them involved in prostitution. The judge told the cops to keep an eye on Valentine, but they apparently failed to do so. Valentine is also linked to another crime related to the murder of a couple. He was not officially linked to the murders of Sydney Land, 21, and Nehemiah 'Neo' Kauffman, 20, until months later.

According to the complaint, Tobiasson herself reached out to Land's mother and "began to personally investigate the case" because she thought that Valentine was responsible. The complaint added that she used 'burner phones' to speak to Land's mother and messaged a woman she considered was involved with the murder. The commission alleges that Tobiasson stated publicly that she reached out to Valentine's lawyer at the time and "told him to tell Valentine that if he called her daughter again she would 'take care of it herself'" and that on one occasion she "went to Shane Valentine's house and kicked in the door."

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Shane Valentine was accused of the murders of Sydney Land and Nehemiah Kauffman (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police)
Shane Valentine was accused of the murders of Sydney Land and Nehemiah Kauffman (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police)

Detectives went to the extent of checking her phone records after they came to know about her activities and launched an investigation into the judge. They also alleged that she had links to a man called 'Anthony Danna' who was a "known and documented organized crime figure." Tobiasson was a graduate of Bishop Gorman High School and won re-election multiple times. She worked for the Clark County District Attorney's Office before taking the role in 1999. 

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If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

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