A child’s body was found inside a home in central California during a search for a missing 8-year-old girl, authorities said.
Investigators discovered the body Friday while serving a search warrant at a home in Merced, the city’s police department said in a statement. They were acting on a tip from police in the San Francisco Bay Area city of Hayward, which received a missing person report on Tuesday from relatives of Sophia Mason.
The family members said they had not had contact with Sophia since December, and that she was known to stay at different locations between Hayward and Southern California.
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Merced police said investigators were working to identify the body. They did not release the cause of death.
A detective told the Merced Sun-Star the child’s mother was arrested by Hayward police, and the girl was not with her.
Alameda County jail records show Samantha Johnson was taken into custody on Thursday and booked for investigation of causing corporal injury on a child and resisting arrest. Her arraignment was set for Tuesday.