An 8-year-old girl lay dead in a bathtub for more than a month before authorities found her body.
Police have released “horrific details” of Sophia Mason’s “brutal and senseless murder” after the man suspected of committing the crime, 34-year-old Dhante Jackson, was arrested after six months on the run.
“The gruesome discovery of Sophia Mason’s lifeless body” occurred on March 11 at Jackson’s home in Merced, California, more than a month after she was initially listed as missing, but people relatives told police that they had not contacted the girl since December.
Mason’s mother and Jackson’s girlfriend, Samantha Johnson, had been in police custody on previous child abuse allegations from 2021 at the time of discovery and subsequently charged with murder along with Jackson.
Authorities said Jackson was buried in Newark, California, Saturday after six months on the run, helped by several women to evade authorities.
At a news conference Sunday, police said three women helped Jackson stay out of sight of officials as he moved between shelters from Merced to the Bay Area, then on to Southern California, just to get back to the Bay Area.
Those women have since been charged with post-truth murder for providing “money, accommodation and transportation” to Jackson.
Police named the women Daberka Thompson, of San Jose, Laronna Larkins, of Merced, and Mayra Gonzalez, of Newark. Police said Jackson was living in Gonzalez at the time of his arrest.
Merced police lieutenant Joe Perez described how Mason was “physically abused for a long time” by his mother and Jackson. She was also sexually abused. He revealed how the little girl had been “dead at home for over a month” and that she was forced to live in a shed in the backyard as well as a closet inside the house. CBS News revealed she was found in the bathtub.
The coroner noted that she was also malnourished.
“In my 20 years of law enforcement, this case is the most disturbing and horrifying thing I have ever seen,” said Lt. Joe Perez, his voice cracking.
“To know what that poor little angel went through at the hands of pure evil breaks my heart. Most of us standing here are mothers and fathers and we cherish our children, we would never understand how this can happen to a beautiful child who just wants to be loved. love.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with precious Sophia and her family as they continue to mourn, although there is nothing we can do to bring Sophia back, I hope Jackson’s arrest will push the Sophia family closer to closure and ultimately justice. for Sophia. “
State Attorney General Rob Bonta said Sunday “those accused of her murder pay a heavy price for their heinous crimes. Let today serve as a reminder that when a terrible crime like this is committed, we will leave no stone to secure justice. “