Kidnapped Penn Hills toddler found dead in Indiana County | TribLIVE.com
Allegheny

Kidnapped Penn Hills toddler found dead in Indiana County

A missing Penn Hills toddler’s body was found early Tuesday afternoon in the area of an Indiana County park, county district attorney Patrick Daugherty said at a press conference.

State police blocked the entrance to Pine Ridge Park in Burrell Township on Tuesday while the park was searched along with a residence off Route 22, about three miles east of Blairsville, for 2-year-old Nalani Johnson, who was abducted Saturday.

Her body was discovered around 1:30 p.m., state police Trooper Steve Limani said, though he did not disclose whether it was found at the park or the nearby residence.

Sharena I. Nancy, 25, is charged with kidnapping Nalani from Penn Hills. The girl’s family told police Nancy drove away with Nalani at about 5 p.m. Saturday. Nancy was arrested after she was found driving the car described in the abduction, police say. A baby seat in which Nalani had been riding also was missing from the car when it was found.

Daugherty did not take questions at the press conference about the ongoing investigation, but said authorities are still determining the extent of Nancy’s involvement in the case.

“Make no mistake, we’re working very hard to ensure that the individuals involved are brought to justice,” he said.

The Indiana County Coroner was at the scene Tuesday and is working with the county forensics serice unit to process the scene, Daugherty said. An autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday, the district attorney said.

There is no reason to believe that the community where the body was found is in danger, Daugherty said.

Allegheny County police Superintendent Coleman McDonough released a statement Tuesday evening, extending condolences to Nalani’s family.

“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.”

McDonough also said the investigation is continuing.

“We continue to ask business owners or private citizens along the Route 22 corridor who have video footage that may be of interest to investigators to please contact the department. The particular time frame for relevant video is from 5:23 p.m. until 7:25 p.m. on Saturday.”

During an earlier press briefing on Tuesday, McDonough said Nancy and Paul Johnson, Nalani’s father, were in the beginnings of what he characterized as a romantic relationship that began on social media.

According to police, Nancy, Johnson and a friend were in a 2017 black Toyota Yaris sedan at about 5 p.m. on Saturday at the intersection of Bryant and Prescott roads in Penn Hills. There was an argument between the friend and Nancy. The men got out of the vehicle and were going to get Nalani out of her car seat when Nancy drove away, McDonough said.

Authorities were able to track Nancy’s drive east to near Blairsville, where the park that was searched is located, and back to Penn Hills, where she was stopped by police and was taken into custody at about 7:25 p.m. Saturday.

McDonough was flanked during the news conference by the FBI’s Assistant Special Agent in Charge Chad Yarbrough and Nalani’s grandmother, Taji Walsh, at the Allegheny County Courthouse. Walsh expressed thanks to everyone who helped in the search of Nalani.

Police say Nancy has provided “a number of statements,” including one that was detailed in the criminal complaint charging her, that claimed Johnson had sold his daughter to a woman and that he told Nancy to deliver Nalani to the woman on Route 22.

“At this time, we have nothing to say that version of events is credible,” McDonough said Tuesday.

More than 60 people including FBI agents, Indiana County Emergency Management, Allegheny County Police, Westmoreland County K-9s, the state Attorney General and state police were involved in the search.

Tom Davidson and Joe Napsha are Tribune-Review staff writers. You can contact Tom at 724-226-4715, [email protected] or via Twitter @TribDavidson. You can contact Joe at 724-836-5252, [email protected] or via Twitter @jnapsha.


1623467_web1_GTR-Kidnapping-05-090419
Shane Dunlap | Tribune-Review
A make-shift memorial with a sign stating “Rest In Peace Sweet Baby Nalani” was constructed at Pine Ridge Park as investigators work at the scene of a residence along Route 22 in Burrell Township in Indiana County on Tuesday night, Sept. 3, 2019 after police confirmed the 2 year-old Nalani Johnson was found dead. The toddler had been missing from Penn Hills since Saturday.
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Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Paternal Grandmother of Nalani Johnson, Taji Walsh, wipes tears from her face during a briefing on the Nalani Johnson case at the Allegheny County Courthouse on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019.
1623467_web1_GTR-Kidnapping-03-090419
Shane Dunlap | Tribune-Review
Law enforcement and investigators work at the scene of a residence along Route 22 in Burrell Township in Indiana County on Tuesday night, Sept. 3, 2019 after police confirmed the 2 year-old Nalani Johnson was found dead near Pine Ridge County Park near Blairsville. The toddler had been missing from Penn Hills since Saturday.
1623467_web1_GTR-Kidnapping-06-090419
Shane Dunlap | Tribune-Review
Law enforcement and investigators work at the scene of a residence along Route 22 in Burrell Township in Indiana County on Tuesday night, Sept. 3, 2019 after police confirmed the 2 year-old Nalani Johnson was found dead near Pine Ridge County Park near Blairsville. The toddler had been missing from Penn Hills since Saturday.
1623467_web1_GTR-Kidnapping-04-090419
Shane Dunlap | Tribune-Review
Law enforcement and investigators work at the scene of a residence along Route 22 in Burrell Township in Indiana County on Tuesday night, Sept. 3, 2019 after police confirmed the 2 year-old Nalani Johnson was found dead near Pine Ridge County Park near Blairsville. The toddler had been missing from Penn Hills since Saturday.
1623467_web1_ptr-AmberAlert01-090319
Allegheny County Police Superintendent Coleman McDonough, center, of Allegheny County Police Department provides a briefing on the Nalani Johnson case at the Allegheny County Courthouse on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019.
1623467_web1_GTR-Kidnapping-01-090419
Shane Dunlap | Tribune-Review
Law enforcement and investigators work at the scene of a residence along Route 22 in Burrell Township in Indiana County on Tuesday night, Sept. 3, 2019 after police confirmed the 2 year-old Nalani Johnson was found dead near Pine Ridge County Park near Blairsville. The toddler had been missing from Penn Hills since Saturday.
1623467_web1_GTR-Kidnapping-02-090419
Shane Dunlap | Tribune-Review
Law enforcement and investigators work at the scene of a residence along Route 22 in Burrell Township in Indiana County on Tuesday night, Sept. 3, 2019 after police confirmed the 2 year-old Nalani Johnson was found dead near Pine Ridge County Park near Blairsville. The toddler had been missing from Penn Hills since Saturday.
1623467_web1_ptr-AmberAlert02-090319
Paternal Grandmother of Nalani Johnson, Taji Walsh, wipes tears from her face during a briefing on the Nalani Johnson case at the Allegheny County Courthouse on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019.
1623467_web1_ptr-AmberAlert03-090319
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Allegheny County Police Superintendent Coleman McDonough, of Allegheny County Police Department provides a briefing on the Nalani Johnson case at the Allegheny County Courthouse on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019.
1623467_web1_ptr-AmberAlert07-090319
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Paternal Grandmother of Nalani Johnson, Taji Walsh, looks on during a briefing on the Nalani Johnson case at the Allegheny County Courthouse on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019.
1623467_web1_ptr-AmberAlert05-090319
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Paternal Grandmother of Nalani Johnson, Taji Walsh, looks on during a briefing on the Nalani Johnson case at the Allegheny County Courthouse on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019.
1623467_web1_ptr-AmberAlert04-090319
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Allegheny County Police Superintendent Coleman McDonough, center, of Allegheny County Police Department provides a briefing on the Nalani Johnson case at the Allegheny County Courthouse on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019.
1623467_web1_ptr-nalaniupdate001-090419
Allegheny County Police Department
The Allegheny County Police Department on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019, released this photo of a black Toyota Yaris believed driven Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019, by Sharena I. Nancy. Police say Nancy abducted 2-year-old Nalani Johnson.
1623467_web1_ptr-nalaniupdate005-090419
Allegheny County Police Department
The Allegheny County Police Department on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019, released this photo 2-year-old Nalani Johnson, who was abducted Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019. The search for Nalani continues.
1623467_web1_ptr-nalaniupdate009-090419
Allegheny County Police Department
The Allegheny County Police Department on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019, released this surveillance photo allegedly showing Sharena I. Nancy on Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019, at a Sheetz in Murrysville.
1623467_web1_ptr-nalaniupdate002-090419
Allegheny County Police Department
The Allegheny County Police Department on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019, released this map showing the route Sharena I. Nancy allegedly drove Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019, after police say she abducted 2-year-old Nalani Johnson.
1623467_web1_ptr-nalaniupdate008-090419
Allegheny County Police Department
The Allegheny County Police Department on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019, released this photo 2-year-old Nalani Johnson, who was abducted Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019. The search for Nalani continues.
1623467_web1_ptr-nalaniupdate003-090419
Allegheny County Police Department
The Allegheny County Police Department on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019, released this photo 2-year-old Nalani Johnson, who was abducted Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019. The search for Nalani continues.
1623467_web1_ptr-nalaniupdate010-090419
Allegheny County Police Department
The Allegheny County Police Department on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019, released this photo of a Toyota Yaris. Sharena I. Nancy was driving a black, 2017 Toyota Yaris when she allegedly abducted 2-year-old Nalani Johnson on Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019.
1623467_web1_ptr-nalaniupdate007-090419
Allegheny County Police Department
The Allegheny County Police Department on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019, released this photo 2-year-old Nalani Johnson, who was abducted Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019. The search for Nalani continues.
1623467_web1_ptr-nalaniupdate004-090419
Allegheny County Police Department
The Allegheny County Police Department on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019, released this photo 2-year-old Nalani Johnson, who was abducted Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019. The search for Nalani continues.
1623467_web1_ptr-nalaniupdate006-090419
Allegheny County Police Department
The Allegheny County Police Department on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019, released this photo 2-year-old Nalani Johnson, who was abducted Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019. The search for Nalani continues.
1623467_web1_ptr-nalaniupdate1-090419
Joe Napsha | Tribune-Review
State police and FBI agents were searching Pine Ridge Park in Indiana County for a toddler kidnapped from Penn Hills over the weekend.
1623467_web1_GTR-Kidnapping-07-090419
Shane Dunlap | Tribune-Review
Law enforcement and investigators work at the scene of a residence along Route 22 in Burrell Township in Indiana County on Tuesday night, Sept. 3, 2019 after police confirmed the 2 year-old Nalani Johnson was found dead near Pine Ridge County Park near Blairsville. The toddler had been missing from Penn Hills since Saturday.
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