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Death of Abducted Toddler Ruled a Homicide

Thursday, September 5, 2019 @ 09:09 AM

Posted by Chris Rossetti

nalani-2GREENSBURG, Pa. (EYT) – The death of 23-month-old Nalani Johnson, of Penn Hills, has been ruled a homicide.

The toddler’s body was discovered on Tuesday afternoon at Pine Ridge Park in Blairsville, Indiana County, just one day after she was kidnapped in Penn Hills.

When her body was found, she was still buckled in to her car seat.

Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. said an autopsy was performed Wednesday by a forensic pathologist in Indiana County; however, a cause of death will not be released until further review of the findings. This review could take up to five weeks, according to Zappala.

An Amber Alert was issued shortly after the abduction on Saturday evening.

Investigators said Paul “PJ” Johnson, his daughter Nalani, and his friend, were riding in a vehicle driven by Sharena Nancy on Saturday evening.

While traveling in the vehicle, Johnson and Nancy reportedly began arguing. Johnson and his friend exited the vehicle, and when Johnson went to get his daughter out of the car seat, Nancy drove away with the toddler.

Nancy was later arrested during a traffic stop in Indiana County, but the child was not found in the vehicle.

Court documents indicate that Nancy told investigators that Johnson sold the child to an individual for $10,000.00 and asked her to complete the drop-off.

Investigators said Tuesday there is no evidence to corroborate Nancy’s version of events.

Nancy is currently facing charges of kidnapping, concealing the whereabouts of a child, and other related charges. She is being held in the Allegheny County Jail with bail being denied.

Allegheny County Police Superintendent Coleman McDonough said Nancy and Paul Johnson were in an “intermittent romantic relationship.”

During a press conference on Wednesday in Greensburg, Zappala said the cases will be prosecuted in conjunction with Indiana County District Attorney Patrick Dougherty.

“We’re going to try these cases together,” Dougherty said. “Our office is going to work hand-in-hand with Steve’s office.”

Allegheny County Police are leading the investigation.

“Everyone’s working diligently,” Zappala said. “This is a baby, a resident of Allegheny County. We’re all going to work together and get the appropriate result.


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