Dhante Jackson: Man who allegedly killed Sophia Mason, 8, and left her body to rot in bathtub nabbed after 6 months
NEWARK, CALIFORNIA: Sophia Mason's alleged killer has now been arrested by the authorities. In a heart-wrenching incident that shook Newark city, Mason's body was found six months ago at the home of Dhante Jackson, who has been charged with homicide. The 8-year-old girl was malnourished and the report found that she was dead not less than a month ago.
“The pain of losing a child is unimaginable — especially when that child was a victim of abuse,” The Merced County district attorney’s officer said. "We grieve with Sophia’s family and loved ones, and acknowledge that she should be here with us now — playing, learning, and growing up.” Jackson was taken into custody in Newark on Saturday, September 10.
Police have also arrested four other people who are "suspected of aiding Jackson in evading arrest." Sharing chilling details on the circumstances of Sophia Mason's death, her mother had earlier said she was "being forced to live in a shed in Jackson’s yard and suffering sexual and physical abuse".
In the investigation, it was found that the mother, Samantha Johnson, was reported for a child abuse case the previous year. Johnson and the alleged killer Jackson were in a romantic relationship. Johnson had also admitted to inflicting torturous punishments on her daughter, and was later taken into custody.
It was during the search warrant obtained against the accused that Merced police found Sophia’s body in a bathtub, with the bathroom being locked. Jackson has pleaded not guilty, and it is uncertain whether Jackson or Johnson have lawyers.
As per the documents regarding Child Welfare, obtained by the Bay Area News Group, Sophia had reached out twice to her social workers about physical abuse caused by her mother. The documents revealed that she was choked twice by Samantha Johnson and was hit several times. Apparently, a teacher and a social worker had reported concerns over signs of abuse, in the same regard.
Sylvia Johnson, Sophia’s grandmother, had already filed a wrongful death legal claim against Alameda County, where she had accused the Department of Child and Family Services "for failing and not doing enough to protect her." Now, Alameda County will have 45 days to respond to the accusations, and if it decides against settlement or rejects the claim, Sylvia will be eligible to sue within six months.