'No Evidence’ Anyone But Kidnapping Suspect Was Involved in Disappearance of Pennsylvania Toddler: DA
Authorities believe the woman who kidnapped toddler Nalani Johnson, who was later discovered dead in her car seat in a Pennsylvania park Tuesday, acted alone.
“There’s no evidence that indicates anybody else was responsible for that child’s being taken from Penn Hills and ultimately being placed in that field or in the woods in Indiana County,” Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala told WTAE Thursday.
Zappala said they are waiting for the coroner to rule on the cause of death before they file any additional charges against Sharena Nancy, 25, who is in Allegheny County Jail facing charges of kidnapping of a minor, interference with custody of children and concealment of the whereabouts of a child.
The final autopsy results could take five to six weeks.
“We’re waiting for the coroner’s office to come back with their conclusions on cause of death,” he said. “The gentleman said five to six weeks. We’re going to send some people out to talk to the pathologists and see if we can shorten that time frame.”
In a joint press release Wednesday, the Allegheny County District Attorney and the Indiana County District Attorney said “the expectation is that the manner of death will be homicide.”
Zappala said there were no visible signs of trauma.
“The baby was fully clothed,” he said, according to WTAE. “She did not die from exposure to the elements. That’s been eliminated. There’s no ligature marks, so you can eliminate strangulation.”
Tests from a private lab are being conducted to see if the toddler was suffocated.
“And if he gives an opinion consistent with our conversation yesterday, then we’ll charge criminal homicide along with the kidnapping,” said Zappala.
The 2-year-old’s body was discovered on Tuesday in Pine Ridge Park in Blairsville. Her father, Paul Johnson, who had been romantically linked to Nancy, had reported her missing three days earlier.
According to a criminal complaint obtained by WTAE, Johnson alleged that he was in a car with Uber and Lyft stickers driven by Nancy with his daughter and a friend. When they stopped at an intersection to get out, he told police that Nancy drove off with his daughter.
He claimed that he attempted to reach Nancy on the phone but she never picked up.
Nancy was apprehended in nearby Monroeville around 7:30 p.m. Saturday — and Nalani was nowhere to be found. Nancy allegedly told police a very different story of what happened.
During an interview with police, Nancy alleged Johnson asked her to take his daughter to an “unnamed individual” who bought her for $10,000, WTAE reports. She allegedly claimed she dropped off the child with a person driving a silver SUV and out-of-state plates.
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Nancy has not yet entered a plea in the charges filed against her.
Anyone with information concerning this incident is asked to call the Allegheny County Police Tip Line at 1-833-255-8477. Callers can remain anonymous.
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