Paul Johnson said he was riding in a car that had Lyft and Uber stickers with his daughter and one and a friend, according to a criminal complaint filed by the Allegheny County police.
According to the complaint, Johnson said that when he got out of the car and went to get his daughter out of the car seat, the driver drove away with the toddler, the complaint said. The complaint did not identify the child, but a police news release said her name is Nalani.
Johnson said that he tried to call the driver’s cellphone multiple times but the driver never picked up, so he called 911 around 5 p.m.
Around 7:30 p.m. police arrested Sharena Nancy, 25, in the vehicle during a traffic stop. The child was not inside the car.
According to the complaint, Nancy told detectives that Jhonson sold the child to an individual for $10,000 and asked her to complete the dropoff.
Nancy said Johnson showed her a photo of a black woman she was supposed to meet and asked her to drive the toddler “20 minutes” from a gas station in Monroeville along US Route 22 to meet the woman th complaint says.
Nancy said she was told the woman would then “flag” her down and Nancy was to turn over the toddler, the complaint stated.
Nancy told detectives she encountered a silver SUV with out-of-state plates parked on the side of the road and did as she was instructed – passing the toddler and the car seat over to a woman standing next to the car then driving off. Nancy told police she also saw a second woman inside of the SUV.
Nancy said she then drove around, smoked cigarettes and talked on the phone with her husband, the complaint said.
Nancy, who is now being held at the Allegheny County jail, was arraigned on Monday after being charged with kidnapping of a minor, interference with custody of children, and concealment of whereabouts of a child. Her preliminary hearing is scheduled for September 16th.
Nalani’s grandmother, Taji Walsh, told CNN affiliate KDKA that Nancy’s account of the events is not true. Her son, whom she calls “PJ,” is Nalani’s father.
“If the police felt that PJ was in any way involved, he wouldn’t be walking freely, he’d be locked somewhere up like she is,” she said.
The police press release said Nalani is 2 years old, but the website for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, missingkids.org, said she’s 23 months old, with her second birthday on September 15th. She is about 3 feet tall and weighs about 30 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes, according to missingkids.org.
Representatives of Uber did not immediately respond to CNN’s requests for comment.
Dana Davis, a communications manager for Lyft, told CNN that while this incident did not happen on the Lyft platform, they have banned Nancy from driving with Lyft, adding that the allegations were “deeply disturbing.”
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