The body of Nalani Johnson, 2, was found on Tuesday in Pine Ridge Park in Blairsville, according to authorities. Police are still investigating the cause of death and an autopsy is set for Wednesday.
Nalani’s father, Paul Johnson, initially called police on Saturday around 5 p.m. to say that his daughter had been kidnapped by an Uber driver after he’d stepped out of her black Toyota Yaris SUV.
He said the woman allegedly driving, 25-year-old Sharena Nancy, sped off with Nalani in the car. He also told police he tried to contact Nancy to no avail.
Nancy was arrested later that evening, but police alleged that Nancy said Johnson had asked her to take the child to someone he’d sold Nalani to for $10,000, WTAE reported. Nancy also said she dropped off Nalani with the unidentified person in a silver SUV with out-of-state plates.
Police later discovered Johnson and Nancy knew each other beyond Uber and were in the early stages of a “intermittent romantic relationship.”
“We believe that an argument ensued at approximately 5 p.m. or so,” superintendent Coleman McDonough said at a press conference. “Mr. Johnson and [Johnson’s friend] exited the vehicle with the intention of taking Nalani with them when Ms. Nancy pulled away with the child in the vehicle.”
Nancy has been charged with kidnapping of a minor, interference with custody of children and concealment of whereabouts of a child. She is being held in the Allegheny County Jail.
“This is not the outcome that any of us would have wished. We will continue to keep the Johnson family in our thoughts,” McDonough said in a press release.
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