Autopsy set for missing 23-month-old found dead in Pa. park

Pennsylvania girl reportedly abducted

By Madeline Holcombe and Rob Frehse, CNN
Allegheny County Police via CNN

23-month-old Nalani Johnson was reportedly abducted in Pennsylvania and later found dead, a district attorney said.

(CNN) - An autopsy is expected to be performed Wednesday on the 23-month-old girl who was reportedly abducted in Pennsylvania over the weekend and later found dead, a district attorney said.

Nalani Johnson was reportedly taken Saturday. Her body was found Tuesday in a Pennsylvania park. Authorities hope that an autopsy can provide some clues about what happened to the toddler in between.

"Until we have some more information regarding the cause and manner of death, we really can't give you much at this point," Indiana County District Attorney Patrick Dougherty said at a news conference Tuesday.

Nalani's father, Paul Johnson, says that a woman he was involved with drove off with his daughter Saturday after an argument, according to a criminal complaint filed by Allegheny County police. That woman, Sharena Nancy, has been charged with the kidnapping of a minor, interference with custody of children and concealment of whereabouts of a child.

Nancy, 25, is being held without bail at the Allegheny County Jail, and her preliminary hearing is scheduled for September 16.

CNN hasn't been able to identify or reach an attorney for Nancy.

Her father's story

Johnson and Nancy were at the start of an "intermittent romantic relationship" that began over social media a few months prior to the incident, Allegheny County Police Superintendent Coleman McDonough said a news conference earlier on Tuesday.

Johnson said he, his daughter and a friend spent several hours with Nancy the day that Nalani was reportedly abducted, according to the criminal complaint. Nancy was driving them all in a car when an argument ensued, the complaint said.

Johnson said he got out of the car, but when he went to get his daughter from the car seat, Nancy drove off with her, the complaint said.

Johnson told detectives he tried calling Nancy's cellphone multiple times, but she never picked up, so he called 911 around 5 p.m. ET, the complaint said.

Police stopped Nancy's car around 7:30 p.m. but did not find Nalani inside, according to the complaint. Nancy was arrested during that stop.

Johnson told police that the car Nancy was driving had Uber and Lyft stickers on it. Representatives of Uber did not immediately respond to CNN's request for comment.

Dana Davis, a communications manager for Lyft, told CNN that while this incident did not happen on the Lyft platform, they have banned Nancy from driving with Lyft, adding that the allegations were "deeply disturbing."

Her alleged kidnapper's story

Nancy's version of events, detailed in the complaint, differs from Johnson's.

She told authorities that Johnson sold the little girl for $10,000 and that she was completing the drop off, the complaint said.

Johnson showed her a picture of a black woman she was supposed to meet about 20 minutes from a gas station in Monroeville along US Route 22 with Nalani, according to the complaint.

Nancy told detectives, the complaint said, that she encountered a silver SUV with out-of-state license plates parked on the side of the road and did as she had been instructed, passing the toddler and the car seat over to a woman standing next to the car and then driving off. Nancy told police she saw a second woman inside the SUV, the complaint said.

Nancy said she then drove around, smoked cigarettes and talked on the phone with her husband, the complaint said.

McDonough said Tuesday they have no evidence to corroborate Nancy's version of events, adding that Johnson and his family have been cooperative with the ongoing investigation.

CNN's Julia Jones, Theresa Waldrop, Laura Ly, Mirna Alsharif, and Tanika Gray contributed to this report.

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