MERCED, Calif. (KGPE/KSEE) – The family of Sophia Mason, the eight-year-old found dead inside a Merced home back in March of 2022, is suing the County of Alameda and three county child service agents, for failing to notice alleged abuse and negligence that led to Sophia’s death.
“Unfortunately, a number of people dropped the ball on this case, and Sophia paid for that with her life,” said Carly Sanchez, the attorney for Sophia Mason’s family.
Sophia’s grandmother is suing the county in April, which prompted the board of supervisors to launch an independent investigation into the family’s claims of failure to respond and report instances of abuse on Sophia.
“They were crying out to the county while Sophia was alive to do something to help her. They saw that she was being abused, they saw that she was in danger and the county ignored them,” said Sanchez.
That is the claim the family of slain eight-year-old Sophia Mason is making in a lawsuit filed against Alameda County.
Sanchez, an attorney with Booth Law, is representing Sophia’s grandmother, Sylvia Johnson, in these proceedings.
Johnson took care of Sophia from the age of one to seven. At eight, she moved with her mother to Merced.
Johnson’s daughter, Samantha is the biological mother of Sophia.
She, and her boyfriend, Dhante Jackson, are currently standing trial in Merced County for felony child abuse and the murder of Sophia.
“While Sophia the family and other people called in numerous child abuse hotline referrals alleging that Sophia was being abused and neglected while in her mother’s care,” said Sanchez.
In the lawsuit, the family says a medical social worker noticed bruises on Sophia’s body, including her inner thigh, and burn marks that looked like they came from cigarettes.
This was referred to the Department of Family & Child Services (DCFS) in Alameda County, but they claim their agent found nothing on the eight-year-old.
Her mother claimed the bruises and marks were from a car crash.
“Many of these referrals were essentially ignored by the county of Alameda,” claims Sanchez.
In response to the lawsuit, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved an independent investigation on the taxpayer’s dime, into what went wrong in Sophia’s case.
“Unfortunately, money is the only thing that we have at this point to obtain some justice. No amount of money will bring Sophia back,” Sanchez said.
We tried calling the Alameda County DFCS multiple times to see if the agents named in this lawsuit are still employed, or on some sort of administrative leave, they sent us to voicemail.