The family of a missing Pennsylvania toddler said allegations against the child’s father are untrue after an Uber driver allegedly accused the of the man selling his daughter for $10,000.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, 25-year-old Sharena Islam Nancy has been charged with concealment of whereabouts of a child, interference with custody, and kidnapping. Police detained Nancy on Saturday night after the 1-year-old Nalani Johnson’s father, Paul Johnson, reported her missing.
Johnson called 911 a little after 5 p.m. on Saturday and said he got a ride from Nancy, an Uber driver. His daughter and his friend Justin Rouse were also in the car. When Johnson got out of the car, Nancy allegedly sped away with the child still inside.
According to court documents, the suspect told police that Johnson asked her to drive the little girl “20 minutes from a gas station in Monroeville along U.S. Route 22,” where someone would pick the toddler up. Nalani claimed that Johnson told her he sold his daughter for $10,000, police alleged.
“That’s not true,” Johnson’s aunt, Pariss Johnson, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “[Someone] will say anything at that point when you’re being arrested, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s fact. He’s been cleared, but again the police, we want them to come out and make a statement in regards to that.”
Police have not confirmed or denied whether Johnson is considered a suspect or person of interest in Nalani’s disappearance. The outlet reports that Allegheny County spokesperson, Amie Downs, declined to comment on anything beyond what authorities have already said.
CrimeOnline spoke exclusively with Nancy’s husband, Uddin Rahain, who said he had no idea that his wife was capable of what she’s been accused of.
Rahain said he was deported to India in 2018. He took their toddler daughter with him, but Nancy stayed behind in Pennsylvania, where she worked as an Uber and Lyft driver to help support the family.
“Only thing going on my head that my wife shouldn’t have done this to us and to the missing child. How could she!” Rahain told CrimeOnline. “This is just too much…… I was in immigration custody for almost 11 months and we just had my daughter on June 5, 2018. I was separated from June 28, 2018, till May 11, 2019. And now this.”
“Life isn’t being very easy. I loved my wife and I’m just fallen apart now. Don’t see it will have anything good with the outcome for her.”
Meanwhile, Johnson and Nalanis’s grandmother spoke to local outlet, 11 News, and pleaded for the public’s help in finding the little girl.
What Happened to Nalani?
Although Nancy claimed she handed Nalani off to an unnamed person in a silver SUV, police said they’ve found no evidence yet of an SUV meeting Nancy at the gas station.
Police said the Johnson was “crying and visibly upset” when he reported his little girl missing, CBS Chicago reports.
Police found Nancy’s car off of Rodi Road in Penn Hills on Saturday evening at around 7:30 p.m., but the little girl was not with her.
Investigators said that prior to detaining Nancy, she traveled in her black Toyota Yaris, with PA plate KLW3926, to the areas of Blairsville, New Alexandria, and Delmont in Westmoreland County, between 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Authorities questioned Nancy at the Penn Hills Police Department on Saturday, but she was initially uncooperative. She’s now being without bond.
No one else has been charged at this time. The girl’s family members were questioned by Penn Hills detectives and subsequently released.
Nalani is described as a black female with black hair and brown eyes. She was last seen at the intersection of Bryant and Clay Drives in Penn Hills. She was wearing a black shirt, black sandals, and a floral-designed skirt.
An arrest has been made in the #kidnapping of 2 year old #NalaniJohnson who is missing out of #Pennsylvania. Nalani has still not been found. #AMBERALERT https://t.co/4joiTP2D9q pic.twitter.com/PgSZVdhF64
— Missing Pieces Network (@Network4Missing) September 2, 2019
Allegheny County police said Nalani is of “average height and weight” for a female of her age. Nalani is a few weeks shy of her 2nd birthday.
Anyone with information on the case should contact the Allegheny County Police Tipline at 1-833-ALL-TIPS (1-833-255-8477).
Police said the Uber driver is not a relative of the child, although she may have known some of her family members.
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[Feature Photo: Nalani Johnson/Police Handout]