MERCED, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – A man accused of killing his girlfriend’s 8-year-old daughter earlier this year has been arrested in the Bay Area, according to the Merced Police Department.

Officials announced that 34-year-old Dhante Jackson had been arrested around 1:40 p.m. Saturday in Newark, California.

Authorities had named Jackson a suspect in the death of Sophia Mason after her body was found on March 11 inside a home near Barclay Way and M Street in Merced.

Mason’s body was discovered after she was reported missing to the Hayward Police Department, leading officers to question her mother, 30-year-old Samantha Johnson, about the young girl’s disappearance.

Photo of Sophia Mason provided by Merced police.

After speaking with Johnson, officers said she gave them the address of the Merced home where her young daughter’s body had been found. Johnson was arrested shortly after on suspicion of murder.

Investigators said Jackson, who was identified as Johnson’s boyfriend, ‘went on the run’ shortly after Mason’s body was found at the home.

Jackson will be transported back to the Merced County Jail to face charges related to Mason’s death and child abuse.

The Merced Police Department will be holding a press conference on Sunday morning to give more details about Jackson’s arrest and the case.