Family of 8-year-old Sophia Mason taking legal action against Alameda County

Dhante Jackson was officially charged in Mason's death on Monday, accused of torturing and killing her back in March.

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Tuesday, September 13, 2022
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The family of Sophia Mason is taking legal action against Alameda County, claiming CPS failed to protect her before she was found dead in Merced.

MERCED, Calif. (KFSN) -- The man accused of killing an 8-year-old girl in Merced is now charged with her murder.

Sophia Mason's family is grateful for one more step in the fight for justice for their little loved one.

"We feel much better that he's behind bars," says Sophia's cousin, Melissa Harris. "Not just for our own family, but for society, for other kids and women out there."

Back in March, police arrested Sophia's mother, Samantha Johnson, in Alameda County.

She remains in custody in Merced.

Sophia Mason's body was found inside a Merced home on March 11.

On Saturday, September 10, the six-month search for Dhante Jackson came to an end.

Officers tracked Jackson to the Bay Area city of Newark and took him into custody.

RELATED: Dhante Jackson, accused of killing 8-year-old girl in Merced, arrested after months-long manhunt

Police say four women helped hide Jackson. They were also arrested for accessory to murder.

Authorities say Sophia was physically and sexually abused, and forced to live in a metal shed in the backyard of a house in Merced.

Harris told Action News they called case workers for help, and that Sophia herself even told them she was being abused.

"In the times that Sophia herself said that I am being choked, I am being hit, that she is not safe, they discounted it," Harris said.

The family says they decided to take legal action because they feel the system failed Sophia.

"I initiated the legal claim for my aunt, who was unable to," Harris said.

Harris says she ultimately hopes this action will be the change system for future children.

"We can't bring her back, but what we can do is change the system so this never happens again," she said.

Jackson's arraignment was continued until Wednesday morning.