A 25-year-old woman has been arrested after the body of a missing 2-year-old from Pennsylvania was discovered in an Indiana County park on September 3.
According to KDKA, Sharena Nancy is being held on kidnapping charges after authorities say the 25-year-old took 2-year-old Nalani Johnson on August 31 after she had an argument with Nalani’s father, Paul Johnson.
Police say Nancy and Paul were in the beginning stages of a romantic relationship.
Authorities told KDKA that after Nancy took Nalani, she drove east down Route 22 in her black 2017 Toyota Yaris, which was adorned with Lyft and Uber indicators. Around 7:30 p.m., Nancy was stopped by a Penn Hills Police officer in Indiana County.
When the officer checked Nancy’s vehicle, the gray car seat Nalani was in when she was allegedly abducted was nowhere to be found.
Shortly after Nancy was stopped by the officer, an AMBER Alert was issued for Nalani in the state of Pennsylvania.
As the search for Nalani ensued, Nancy allegedly told authorities that Paul told her to take Nalani, WTAE reports. She also claimed that Paul “sold” the 2-year-old to “an unnamed individual” for $10,000. Nancy said Paul instructed her to drive Nalani “20 minutes from a gas station in Monroeville along U.S. Route 22.”
Upon taking Nalani, Nancy said she met a person in a silver SUV with out-of-state license plates and handed Nalani over to that person.
However, according to court paperwork, Paul denies Nancy’s claims, telling authorities that he, Nalani, and a friend were in the vehicle with Nancy. When he got out of the vehicle at an intersection, Nancy allegedly took off before he could get his daughter out of the car.
Police say they received the first call about the abduction around 5 p.m. Nancy and her vehicle were captured on Sheetz security cameras about a half-hour after the first 911 call was received.
At a briefing held this afternoon, County Police asked that:1. The public be on the lookout for the car seat, which…
Three days later, as WTAE reports, Nalani’s body was discovered on September 3 in Pine Ridge Park following a search conducted by local and state law enforcement as well as the FBI.
Details into how Nalani passed away have not been revealed. It’s also unclear if police believe Nancy is responsible for her death. As of September 4, Nancy has only been charged with kidnapping, interference with custody of children, and concealment of whereabouts of a child.
District Attorney Patrick Dougherty talked about a woman they have in custody during a brief press conference following the discovery, but never made mention the woman’s name. Dougherty said:
“We believe that she is involved. To what extent, that is still being determined.”
Now Allegheny County Police are asking anyone with surveillance cameras along Route 22 to contact them at 1-833-255-8477. They are looking for footage from August 31 between 5:23 p.m. and 7:25 p.m.
On behalf of the men and women of the Allegheny County Police Department, I extend my deepest sympathies to the family…
In a written press release shared on Facebook, Allegheny County Superintendent Coleman McDonough wrote:
On behalf of the men and women of the Allegheny County Police Department, I extend my deepest sympathies to the family of Nalani Johnson. We are grateful to you for your cooperation and support during the investigation. […] This is not the outcome that any of us would have wished. We will continue to keep the Johnson family in our thoughts.
Anyone with any information regarding Nalani’s abduction or death is asked to contact the Allegheny County tip line at 1-833-ALL-TIPS.