Missing child re­ported kid­napped found dead

The Morning Call - - NEWS - By The Associated Press

The body of a missing tod­dler re­ported kid­napped near Pitts­burgh over the week­end was found Tues­day in a park in a neigh­bor­ing county.

In­di­ana County District At­tor­ney Pa­trick Dougherty said the body of Nalani John­son, who was to turn 2 this month, was found in Pine Ridge Park in Blairsvill­e, about 37 miles east of Penn Hills, where au­thor­i­ties al­lege the girl was kid­napped Satur­day evening. An au­topsy was planned Wed­nes­day to de­ter­mine the cause and man­ner of death, he said.

Sharena Is­lam Nancy, 25, who au­thor­i­ties say had been ro­man­ti­cally in­volved with the child’s fa­ther, re­mains in cus­tody in Al­legheny County on charges of kid­nap­ping of a mi­nor, cus­to­dial in­ter­fer­ence and con­ceal­ment of the where­abouts of a child, all felonies.

Dougherty, not us­ing any names but re­fer­ring to a woman “cur­rently in cus­tody” in Al­legheny County, said “We be­lieve that she is in­volved. To what ex­tent, that is still being de­ter­mined.” County au­thor­i­ties could not be im­me­di­ately reached to clar­ify whether he was re­fer­ring to Nancy. But he said of­fi­cials be­lieve there is no dan­ger to the com­mu­nity. Dougherty didn’t say what drew in­ves­ti­ga­tors to the park, but it is close to the Chest­nut Ridge Golf Course, and po­lice said ear­lier Nancy’s car had been spot­ted in the area af­ter al­leg­ing leav­ing Penn Hills with the child.

Nancy, ac­cused of driv­ing off with the tod­dler as her fa­ther tried to get her and her car seat out of the ve­hi­cle, had been ro­man­ti­cally in­volved with the man, and there was an ar­gu­ment in the ve­hi­cle be­fore she drove off, Al­legheny County au­thor­i­ties said ear­lier in the day. Nancy and Nalani John­son’s fa­ther met on so­cial me­dia and were “in the begin­nings of an in­ter­mit­tent ro­man­tic re­la­tion­ship,” said Su­per­in­ten­dent Cole­man McDonough, of the county po­lice depart­ment.

Nancy works as a ride­hail­ing driver, but she had spent sev­eral hours with the fa­ther, a friend of his and the child be­fore the al­leged kid­nap­ping in Penn Hills, McDonough said.

“This was not an ar­bi­trary Uber/Lyft — they were known to each other,” he said.

Po­lice said Mon­day the child’s fa­ther told in­ves­ti­ga­tors that he and a friend were rid­ing in a car driven by Nancy on Satur­day evening. When he got out of the car and was moving to get the child out of her car seat, Nancy drove off, he al­leged. Au­thor­i­ties now say an ar­gu­ment that be­gan be­tween the friend and Nancy prompted the two men to get out of the car.

Nancy al­leged she turned the child over to a woman in a sil­ver sport util­ity ve­hi­cle dur­ing a road­side rendezvous on the in­struc­tions of the fa­ther, who she al­leged had “sold” the tod­dler, but McDonough said in­ves­ti­ga­tors “have noth­ing to cor­rob­o­rate or sug­gest that that ver­sion of events is cor­rect.”

“We have a sit­u­a­tion where we have two ver­sions of events at the same time, sim­i­lar ver­sions up to cer­tain point in time dur­ing the day and then the ver­sions dif­fer dra­mat­i­cally, so a lot of our in­ves­tiga­tive ef­forts are try­ing to cor­rob­o­rate one ver­sion or the other,” McDonough said. In­ves­ti­ga­tors had been try­ing to nar­row down the large search area and asked peo­ple for in­for­ma­tion about Nancy’s where­abouts be­fore she and her ve­hi­cle were found and also to be on the look­out for the child’s missing car seat.

The child’s grand­mother Taji Walsh thanked law en­force­ment and vol­un­teers for their ef­forts in try­ing to find the girl.

“We miss Nalani, and we want her home,” Walsh said, plead­ing for any­one with in­for­ma­tion to call in­ves­ti­ga­tors. In­di­ana County of­fi­cials on Tues­day night urged peo­ple to re­spect the pri­vacy of the griev­ing fam­ily.

No at­tor­ney was listed in court doc­u­ments for Nancy, and a listed num­ber for her could not be found.


Nalani John­son

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