Authorities in California are looking for a man after a body of a child was discovered at his Central Valley home.
According to separate statements, Dhante Jackson and Hayward police said that the body was discovered in his residence in Merced on Thursday.
Jackson is the boyfriend for Sophia Mason, a woman whose 8 year-old daughter was reported missing Tuesday.
Sophia's case has been investigated by two separate probes: one in Merced (where Jackson lived ) and another in the Bay Area (where a relative raised concerns about Sophia's welfare and whereabouts to Hayward Police).
Officers visited Jackson's Merced home twice Tuesday in an effort to find Sophia and Samantha Johnson.
Johnson was taken into police custody on Thursday. Hayward police stated that they had received information that "reconfirmed" Jackson’s residence as a possible location for Sophia.
Police from both the Merced and St. Louis counties reported that a body was found when Merced authorities returned to the house.
According to Merced police, Johnson is facing a murder charge in connection with Sophia's case. Santa Rita jail records reveal that she was also charged with obstruction of an officer's investigations and corporal injury to children.
Johnson was also the subject in a child abuse investigation in 2021 and holds an active warrant from that case, Merced police stated.
Jackson was arrested and a murder warrant issued, according to Merced police.
It was not clear whether Jackson or Johnson had legal representation. The Merced public defender's office did not respond to a request for comment.
Melonie Verlatti said that she knew Sophia since her birth and told NBC Bay Area that the discovery of a body was a shock.
She said, "So difficult to believe."
The cause and identification of the death will be determined by the Merced County Coroner.