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Missing 2-Year-Old Girl Found Dead As Investigators Reveal Suspected Kidnapper Was In Relationship With Father

Initially described as a rideshare driver, police now say Sharena Nancy knows Paul Johnson, the father of deceased toddler Nalani Johnson.

By Gina Tron

The frantic search for a missing little girl ended in tragedy after she was found dead in a Pennsylvania park. 

The body of 2-year-old Nalani Johnson was discovered in the Pine Ridge Park in Indiana County on Tuesday afternoon, CBS Pittsburgh reports.

Sharena Nancy, 25, is accused of kidnapping the toddler, driving off with her after giving a ride to the girl's father Paul Johnson, the child and a friend. However, she claimed the child's father sold her for $10,000 - an allegation his family vehemently denies, according to court records obtained by WTAE in Pittsburgh. 

While initial reports said Paul Johnson described Nancy to police as an Uber and Lyft driver –– noting that she has stickers for both ride-sharing apps on her car –– it now appears she was in a sexual relationship with him and they got into some sort of argument before she allegedly drove off with the child, local outlet WKRC-TV reports.

"Sharena Nancy and Paul Johnson became acquainted intermittently over the course the last few months through social media. So they were known to each other. This was not an Uber/Lyft, an arbitrary Uber/Lyft, but they were known each other," Allegheny County Police Supt. Coleman McDonough said at a news conference Tuesday.

Nalani Johnson Sharena Islam Nancy Pd

Paul Johnson’s mother, Taji Walsh, told KDKA earlier this week that her family doesn’t know Nancy.

Nancy faces kidnapping of a minor, interference with custody of children and concealment of whereabouts of a child charges, according to online jail records. It’s not clear if she has a lawyer who can speak on her behalf at this time.

Dougherty said during the presser that he believes that Nancy is involved in the child’s death and he hinted that there may be additional arrests made in this case.

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

Nancy accused Paul Johnson of selling the toddler to "an unnamed individual" for $10,000 and says that she was asked to be the courier, driving the child to a road where she handed her off to two women in an SUV with an out-of-state license plate. Johnson says he called police immediately after Nancy drove off with Nalani; he hasn't been charged with any crime. 

An autopsy will be performed Wednesday to determine how the child died.