“We received some bones”: Sophia Mason’s family demands answers after her death

A relative of Sophia Mason, the 8-year-old girl who was found dead in a home in Merced, California, in March, broke her silence after the person allegedly responsible for murdering the minor was arrested on Saturday in Newark, in the same condition.

California Attorney General Rob Bonta and Merced Police announced the arrest of Dhante Jackson.

At Sunday’s news conference in Merced, investigators shared details of a gruesome scene, when the 8-year-old girl’s body was found in a home. Authorities said she had been dead for a month.

“The coroner determined the death to be a homicide and noted that Sophia’s body was malnourished. In my 20 years in law enforcement, this case is the most disturbing and horrific I have ever seen,” said Lt. Joe Perez of the Police Department. of Mercy.

Melissa Harris, the victim’s cousin, spoke to NBC Bay Area on Sunday after the news conference.

“She was so decomposed by the time she was found, that even after the coroner did her exams and her forensic pathology, all we got was some bones,” he said.

Harris said Jackson’s arrest gives the family closure. But the family still wants answers about how Sophia died. It’s information they believe only Jackson can provide.

Now, Sophia Mason’s family is demanding answers from Alameda County Children and Family Services about why the girl was allowed to stay with her mother, Samantha Johnson.

Johnson and her boyfriend, Jackson, face murder charges in the case. Johnson was charged in March and remains in custody.

Relatives of Sophia Mason initiated legal proceedings against Alameda County. They say social workers failed to respond to concerns from family members, teachers, hospital staff and even the girl herself.

Carly Sanchez, the family’s attorney, told NBC Bay Area on Sunday that they are reviewing 450 documents they just received from Alameda County.

So far, Sánchez said she has uncovered eight separate references to possible abuse during Sophia’s lifetime, adding that only three have been investigated.

Harris said her family was distressed when they reported signs of abuse, but they didn’t seem to get an adequate response from social workers.

“What they told us and our family is that what was there, was unfounded. All the complaints, including Sophia’s, were unfounded,” Harris said. “And now that she’s dead, I hope they can see that each one of them, the complaint was founded,” she said.

NBC Bay Area has reached out to the attorney and Alameda County Manager for reaction on the family’s legal claim, which was filed Thursday.

Alameda County Children and Family Services have also been repeatedly sought for comment on this case over the past several months. So far, no response has been received.

The county has 45 days to respond to the family’s legal claim before they can proceed with a formal lawsuit.

“We received some bones”: Sophia Mason’s family demands answers after her death