MERCED, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) — Detectives are working to find a suspect in the death of a still-unidentified child found dead in a Merced residence Friday.
According to Merced police, detectives met with Samantha Johnson, 30 of Hayward and mother of missing child Sophia Mason, after her arrest on a warrant related to “a child abuse incident that occurred in Alameda County in 2021.
Police say Johnson “led police to” a Merced residence where a child was found dead Friday. Detectives spoke to Johnson about the child. Ultimately, according to Merced police, Johnson was arrested on a murder charge.
Johnson’s boyfriend Dhante Jackson, 34, lives at the Merced residence where the child’s body was found according to investigators. Shortly after news broke of the search at Jackson’s home, investigators say he “went on the run.”
“A warrant has been issued for Jackson’s arrest for the charge of murder,” said a release from the Merced Police Department. Jackson is said to frequent the Bay Area.
This investigation is ongoing, and the Merced County Coroner’s Office is still working to positively identify the child.
Anyone with information on the case is asked to call Detective John Pinnegar at (209) 388-7712 or via email regarding case number 22-14506.