PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Nalani Johnson’s body was found in an Indiana County park, and people in the community began to construct a makeshift memorial.
People came by to place teddy bears, candles and flowers on the memorial to honor the young girl’s life.
As the sun began to fade on the third day of searching for missing toddler Nalani Johnson, the Indiana District Attorney Patrick Dougherty gave the heartbreaking news.
“Unfortunately, we can confirm that missing child was located in Pine Ridge Park in Indiana County,” he said during a brief press conference in the park.
Crews with the state police, FBI and Allegheny County Police spent most of the morning and early afternoon searching Pine Ridge Park just outside of Blairsville. Helicopters flew overhead to try and piece this case together.
“I could hear the ATVs and the helicopters all day,” Stacey Lubitz, a woman who placed something at the memorial, said. “I held my grandbaby and it is just sad. It’s really sad.”
As the afternoon went on, the county coroner was called to the scene.
“We are working diligently and we are working together. This is a cooperative effort between Allegheny County and Indiana County,” Dougherty said.
According to Nalani’s grandmother Taji Walsh, she was supposed to turn two this month.
People from the nearby community started a memorial for the loss of such a young life.
Kara Baird and her daughter Ainsley set up flowers and a bear.
“It hits home everywhere. People issue an amber alert and you hope for the best outcome and then you get bad news like this and it devastates everybody that watches the news,” Kara said.
Ainsley picked the white teddy bear.
It represents where we can hope Nalani is now.
“Because it looked like an angel,” she said.
As the afternoon turned into night, police continued their work as this case made the turn nobody wanted to see.
“Make no mistake that we are working very hard that the individuals involved will be brought to justice,” Dougherty told reporters near the crime scene.
He said an autopsy will be done Wednesday on Nalani’s body. He believes 25-year-old Sharena Nancy who is in custody and facing kidnapping charges is involved but is not sure to what extent.