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Police: Woman Charged With Kidnapping Told Investigators Father Sold Toddler For $10,000

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- A woman is now behind bars, charged in connection with an active Amber Alert for a Penn Hills toddler who disappeared over the weekend.

Sharena Nancy is accused of driving off with 2-year-old Nalani Johnson on Saturday evening.

Police took her into custody, but Johnson remains missing.

(Source: Allegheny County Jail)
Photo Credit: National Center For Missing and Exploited Children

Nancy is now facing charges of kidnapping of a minor, interference with custody of children and concealment of whereabouts of a child.

The FBI is now getting involved in the search. They tell KDKA's Meghan Schiller that their Child Abduction Rapid Deployment Team, or CARD, is now on the ground in Pittsburgh to assist in the investigation.

FBI Pittsburgh's local team, CART, is already helping police.

According to the criminal complaint, the little girl's father called police just after 5 p.m. Saturday. Police say Paul Johnson was "crying and visible upset." He told police that he and his daughter were in Nancy's vehicle, a Toyota Yaris with Uber and Lyft stickers on it, with a friend.

At the intersection of Bryant and Clay Drives in Penn Hills, police say Johnson told them the vehicle stopped so he could get out, but when he went to reach for his daughter, Nancy drove away.

"We don't know her personally," Paul Johnson's mother Taji Walsh said.

The criminal complaint reports he tried to call Nancy several times and when he could not reach her, he dialed 911.


A police officer managed to track down Nancy driving the vehicle along Rodi Road just before 7:30 p.m.

The officer pulled her over but did not find Nalani or her child safety seat in the vehicle, investigators say.

Nancy was taken in for questioning by police.

The criminal complaint reports that she told investigators the girl's father sold Nalani to someone else for $10,000 and Nancy was to drive the girl "20 minutes from a gas station in Monroeville along Route 22."

Investigators say Nancy told detectives that a woman standing beside a silver SUV with an out-of-state license plate allegedly flagged her down. A second women was reported to be a passenger waiting in the vehicle.

According to police, Nancy said she turned the child and safety seat over to the women, then Nancy alleged drove near Blairsville and turned around.

She told police she drove back to Monroeville, sat in her vehicle and called her husband.

"The things that she indicated in her arrest record, which is public knowledge, are unfounded," Walsh told KDKA.

The search continues for Nalani.

The FBI, state police and Allegheny County Police continue to investigate.

Nancy is being held in the Allegheny County Jail.

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

For more information on Nalani Johnson's disappearance, visit the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children's website here.

Anyone with information on the case or who has seen Nalani is asked to call the Allegheny County Police Tip Line at 1-833-ALL-TIPS (1-833-255-8477).

Uber said no one with Nancy's name "took trips on the app this past weekend."

Lyft issued a statement, saying:

While this incident did not happen on the Lyft platform, these allegations are deeply disturbing. The safety of our community is fundamental to Lyft and we have permanently banned this individual from driving with Lyft."

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