Dhante Jackson has been arrested for the murder of eight year old Sophia Mason. According to police reports Dhante Jackson has been wanted since the police found the body of Sophia Mason on March 11 2022. Police who already had Sophia Mason mother, Samantha Johnson, in custody on previous child abuse charges issued a warrant for Dhante Jackson arrest. According to Samantha Johnson the eight year old girl was physically and sexually abused and was forced to live in a shed. Both Samantha Johnson and Dhante Jackson face child abuse and murder charges.
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A man wanted for the abuse and murder of a Hayward child has been arrested, officials said Saturday.
California Attorney General Rob Bonta, along with the Merced Police Department said that Dhante Jackson was arrested in connection to the killing of 8-year-old Sophia Mason of Hayward in Newark Saturday afternoon.
Jackson’s arrest happened after a months-long search and an investigation led by Merced police with assistance by the Merced Area Gang and Narcotic Enforcement Team and the Department of Justice’s Special Operations Unit.
“The pain of losing a child is unimaginable, especially when that child was a victim of abuse. We grieve with Sophia’s family and loved ones, and acknowledge that she should be here with us now, playing, learning, and growing up,” Bonta said. “Our children should be protected from violence and we must do everything we can to safeguard them. I want to thank the members of my team and our law enforcement partners in Merced for their work on this very difficult case, and hope it brings some measure of comfort to those who loved this young girl to know that those accused of her murder will now have to face these allegations.”
Investigators found Sophia’s body in Jackson’s home on March 11 after the Merced police received a request for assistance from the Hayward Police Department as part of an investigation into the reported disappearance of Mason. On March 12, the victim’s mother, Samantha Johnson — who was in custody in Dublin for prior child abuse charges from 2021 — provided information to investigators about the cruelty inflicted upon Mason leading up to her death, including being forced to live in a shed in Jackson’s yard and suffering sexual and physical abuse.
The Merced County District Attorney’s Office charged Johnson with child abuse and homicide and issued a warrant for Jackson’s arrest for Mason’s murder.
After months of searching for the suspect, investigators located Jackson in hiding in Newark and arrested him. Jackson will be charged by the Merced County District Attorney’s Office with homicide.
Officers also charged four other suspects, one located in Merced and three in the Bay Area, suspected of aiding Jackson in evading arrest.
Bonta and Merced police will hold a 9 a.m. news conference Sunday at the Merced Police Department building.
Anyone with any information regarding the case is asked to contact Merced Police Department Detective John Pinnegar at 209-388-7712 or by email at PinnegarJ@CityofMerced.org