A California man was arrested for the death of an 8-year-old girl on Saturday after spending six months on the run.
Fugitive Dhante Jackson was busted in the San Francisco Bay area on suspicion of killing Sophia Mason, police and the state’s attorney general office said. He faces charges of murder and child abuse.
His ex-girlfriend and the victim’s mother, Samantha Johnson, was also arrested and charged with murder earlier this year. The 30-year-old Johnson has pleaded not guilty.
Merced Police Department Lt. Joe Perez said Sunday the little girl suffered from physical abuse and was malnourished. He also said at times she was forced to live in a backyard shed.
“In my 20 years of law enforcement, this case is the most disturbing and horrific that I’ve seen,” Perez said during a press conference.
Four other people were arrested over the weekend for helping Jackson evade authorities.
Sophia was reported missing earlier this year by loves whole told authorities they had not heard from her since December. That report filed to Hayward police led to the arrest of Johnson from a warrant on a child abuse case last year, police said.
Johnson’s statements to Hayward police then led Merced police officers to search Jackson’s home where Sophia’s body was found in a bathtub in a locked bathroom in March, court documents indicate.
Johnson told a Merced police detective her boyfriend kept Sophia in the shed and the girl was physically and sexually abused by him.
Sophia also told social workers twice her mother choked her and hit her, Bay Area News Group reported after it obtained child welfare documents.
Last week, the girl’s grandmother filed a wrongful death legal claim against Alameda County for allegedly not doing enough to help the innocent child before her death, setting the stage for a possible lawsuit.
With Post wires