Sophia Mason Hayward California 8 year old missing girl found dead. Her mother, Samantha Johnson along with her boyfriend, Dhante Jackson now face murder charges.
A death that could’ve been averted had Child Protection Services gotten involved according to family members …
A manhunt is underway for a California man after the body of a missing eight-year-old Hayward girl was found in his home and his girlfriend, the child’s mother arrested for obstruction of justice and child abuse a day earlier.
During the investigation into Sophia Mason‘s disappearance, the child’s mother, Samantha Johnson, 30, led police to her boyfriend’s home in Merced where a body believed to be the missing child’s was discovered on Friday.
The macabre discovery came as police carried out a search warrant around 2 p.m. Friday at 34-year-old Dhante Jackson‘s home at the 500 block of Barclay Way in Merced, according to the Los Angeles Times, several days after Mason’s relatives told police in Hayward that they hadn’t heard from or seen the girl since December.
Sophia’s mother was arrested on Thursday on a warrant stemming from a child abuse investigation in Alameda County last year, the Merced Police Department said. Samantha Johnson was booked into the Santa Rita Jail by Hayward police, the Times reported. She will be transferred to the Merced County Jail to face charges.
Fruitless efforts to have girl removed from mother according to relatives
Investigators believe Jackson fled after discovering news of a search of his home.
Both Johnson and Jackson now face murder charges. The mother along with her 8 year old daughter are thought to have been staying in Jackson’s Central Valley home up to the discovery of the child’s body KPIX reported.
The Merced Police Department is working to confirm that the body belongs to the missing eight-year-old, and has not yet released a cause of death.
Relatives described Mason as a bubbly and playful 8-year-old girl, who they had been trying to have removed from her mother on account of mental illness the mother suffered along with ongoing illegal activities she was involved with, including prostitution at different hotels.
Sophia’s aunt, Emerald Johnson, wrote on Instagram that she had been trying to get custody of the child because her sister is a ‘drug and sex addict’ and a ‘very sick person and has been off her meds for several years.’
After Samantha Johnson moved out of the house with Jackson, Emerald Johnson wrote, family members began seeing bruises and cuts on the young girl and making reports to child protective services that she said went unanswered.
Does CPS have blood on its hands?
‘She even stated that her mom puts cocoa butter on her bruises so they would go away,’ Emerald Johnson wrote in a Friday Instagram post, before a child’s body was found in Jackson’s home.
‘She said that she gets left in hotel rooms alone with no food or water all day and had clearly drastically lost weight.’
Emerald Johnson said that her sister had been seen without the girl multiple times since December, and told family members that she had ‘given the child away.’
Relatives said there were several red flags over the years and pleas for help from the authorities and Child Protective Services fell on deaf ears.
‘Fighting hard to get Sophia back is an understatement of what I went through a year ago but failed,’ the aunt wrote. ‘Unfortunately, this could’ve been prevented had they taken Sophia away & put her back in our care last year.’
Mason’s cousin Melanie Verlatti also expressed exasperation with CPS.
‘Kids who fall through the cracks’
‘It was countless calls, letters, emails… my cousin who is also Samantha’s sister had sent me documents saying we feel like Sophia’s in an unsafe environment. Her mom’s taken her, we know she’s prostituting, and she has her and she’s in a hotel somewhere, but they would ultimately say ‘well she’s with her mom’’ said Verlatti according to KPIX.
Adding, ‘This system is broken, and this is what happens when kids fall through the cracks in the systems. And this is more than kids who fall through the cracks in the system. This is kids who are poor and kids who are of color.’
Neighbors of Jackson’s home were in disbelief after a body was discovered.
‘We thought she was missing at first because they wouldn’t tell us anything,’ Diamond Johnson, who has no relation to Emerald and Samantha Johnson, told ABC 30. ‘It could have been anybody. It hurts. I cried for her and I don’t even know her.’
Other neighbors said that they ‘never saw anyone in the home,’ the outlet reported.
A GoFundMe for the child’s burial expenses was launched over the weekend.
‘Sophia, I am so sorry the system failed you,’ wrote Adriana Ramos, a friend of Emerald’s who started the fundraiser.
‘I hope you knew how loved you are, your aunt advocated for you and did not give up. I hope you are somewhere as beautiful as you sweet angel.’