Dhante Jackson is wanted in the missing child Sophia Mason case after investigators searched his home and found the body of a child. According to police reports Sophia Mason, who has not been seen since December 2021, mother was arrested on a old charge of child abuse. The mother, Samantha Johnson, would then lead investigators to search the home of Dhante Jackson where a child’s body was found. Police are determining whether or not the body found is that of Sophia Mason. Dhante Jackson is wanted by Merced California police and Samantha Johnson was being held for investigation of murder with murder charges pending.
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A manhunt was under way Saturday for a man wanted in the death of a child whose body was found inside a central California home during the search for a missing 8-year-old girl.
The body was discovered at a home in Merced on Friday, several days after relatives of Sophia Mason told police in the San Francisco Bay Area city of Hayward that they had not had contact with the girl since December, and that she was known to stay at different locations between Hayward and Southern California.
The missing person report led Hayward police to arrest the girl’s mother, Samantha Johnson, 30, on a warrant stemming from a case of child abuse in Alameda County last year, the Merced police department said in a statement Saturday.
Her statements led police to serve a search warrant at the house in Merced, where her 34-year-old boyfriend Dhante Jackson resides, the statement said.
Investigators said they believe Jackson went on the run after news spread about the search of his home.
Merced police said investigators were working to identify the body. They did not release the cause of death.
Johnson was being held for investigation of murder. She will be transferred to the Merced County Jail to face charges, police said.
A warrant was issued for Jackson’s arrest. Police said he is known to frequent the Bay Area
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A 30-year-old Hayward woman, being held for child abuse in Santa Rita jail, was charged with murder along with her boyfriend Saturday hours after she led police to a Merced home where a child’s body was discovered.
Merced police said Samantha Johnson now faces a murder charge along with her boyfriend, 34-year-old Dhante Jackson of Merced, who has Bay Area connections. He remains at large and is the focus of a statewide manhunt.
“Jackson resides at the home where the deceased child was found,” police posted on Facebook. “Soon after news spread about Jackson’s home being searched, he went on the run.”
Meanwhile, the Merced County Coroner’s Office was trying to determine if the child’s body was that of Johnson’s missing 8-year-old daughter, Sophia Mason
Since Tuesday, Hayward police have been searching for Sophia. Johnson was arrested Thursday evening after giving investigators suspicious information regarding her daughter’s whereabouts. She eventually gave Hayward police enough information to have them ask Merced police to check out a home on Barclay Way.
Once inside the home, detectives discovered the body.
“Detectives interviewed Johnson about the deceased child found in the residence that she led police to in the city of Merced,” police posted on Facebook. “Johnson was ultimately arrested for the charge of murder and remains in custody at the Santa Rita Jail. Johnson will be transferred to the Merced County Jail.”
Merced police were asking anyone with any information regarding this incident to contact Detective John Pinnegar at (209)388-7712 or by email at [email protected]