Police have arrested three women, including one from San Jose, on accessory to murder charges, accusing them of hiding a man suspected of killing an 8-year-old Hayward girl in Merced earlier this year.
Dhante Jackson, 33, was arrested Saturday in Newark on suspicion of murder after a six-month investigation in the death of Sophia Mason, Merced police said.
Sophia's mother, Samantha Johnson, 30, was arrested as a suspect in the case early on and remains in custody at the Merced County Jail.
Following Jackson's arrest over the weekend, search warrants were served and police arrested Laronna Larkins, 42, of Merced; Mayra Gonzalez, 33, of Newark; and Daberka Thompson, 40, of San Jose.
The women were all arrested on suspicion of being an accessory to murder after investigators determined they allegedly helped Jackson by providing him with shelter and financial support while he was on the run over the past six months.
Johnson -- while in custody in Dublin in March for prior child abuse charges from 2021 -- provided information to investigators about the alleged cruelty inflicted upon Mason leading up to her death, including being forced to live in a shed in Jackson's yard and suffering sexual and physical abuse.
Sophia's body was found in Jackson's home in Merced on March 11 after police received a request for assistance from the Hayward Police Department as part of an investigation into the girl's disappearance.
The Merced County District Attorney's Office charged Johnson with child abuse and homicide and issued a warrant for Jackson's arrest.
After months of searching for the suspect, investigators located Jackson in hiding in Newark and arrested him.