Merced Police Seek Public Assistance in Finding Homicide Suspect of 8 Year Old Girl 

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Merced Police Seek Public Assistance in Finding Homicide Suspect of 8 Year Old Girl

Per Merced PD:

“On the evening of March 11, 2022, Merced Police Detectives continued their investigation of the deceased child found on Barclay Way in the city of Merced.  They met with Samantha Johnson (30) of Hayward.  Johnson was in custody at the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin.  Johnson had been arrested by Hayward Police for a warrant stemming from a child abuse incident that occurred in Alameda County, in 2021.  She is also the mother of missing 8-year-old Sophia Mason.  

Detectives interviewed Johnson about the deceased child found in the residence that she led police to, in the city of Merced.  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.

Detectives determined that Dhante Jackson (34) of Merced is Johnson’s boyfriend.  Jackson resides at the home where the deceased child was found.  Soon after news spread about Jackson’s home being searched, he went on the run.  A warrant has been issued for Jackson’s arrest for the charge of murder.  He is known to frequent the Bay Area of California.  

This investigation is still ongoing and the exact circumstances surrounding this incident remain under investigation.  The Merced County Coroner’s Office is working to positively identify the child.

Merced Police are asking anyone with any information regarding this incident to contact Detective John Pinnegar at (209)388-7712 or by email at [email protected]”. 

Previous Announcement regarding the body of the 8 year old child being found murdered. 

“On March 11, 2022 at approximately 8:40A.M., the Merced Police Department received a request for assistance from Hayward Police Detectives who were investigating the disappearance of 8-year-old Sophia Mason.  Hayward Police Detectives received information about a possible address where Mason was last seen in the city of Merced.

Merced Police Detectives authored a search warrant for a residence in the 500 block of Barclay Way in the city of Merced.  A deceased child was found in the residence during the service of the search warrant.  Detectives and crime scene investigators processed the scene and conducted a thorough canvass of the area for witnesses and additional information.

This investigation is still in its early stages and the exact circumstances surrounding this incident remain under investigation.  The Merced County Coroner’s Office is working to positively identify the child.

Merced Police are asking anyone with any information regarding this incident to contact Detective John Pinnegar at (209)388-7712 or by email at [email protected]”. 

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