Things That Matter

The Missing Toddler Who Was Allegedly Sold For $10K By An Uber Driver Has Been Found Dead

Many say that the worst thing that can happen to a parent is to lose their child. Well, that worst happened on Saturday evening to Paul Johnson after a rideshare driver abducted his daughter, according to police documents. Now, a woman is in custody but the toddler is still missing. 

The child reportedly was sold for $10,000 according to police reports. 

According to the father, as reported by ABC 15 Arizona, he was riding in a car with Lyft and Uber stickers with his daughter and a friend. 

When he got out of the car to get his daughter out of the car seat, the driver drove away with the toddler, according to a criminal complaint that was filed by the Allegheny County police in Pennsylvania. While the complaint didn’t identify the child, the police news release said she is named Nalani. 

According to police reports, the father, Paul Johnson, told detectives he tried calling the driver’s cellphone numerous times but she never answered. After trying to call the driver, he called 911 at 5 p.m. eastern time. A couple of hours after, police arrest the woman, named Sharena Nancy, 25, in the vehicle during a traffic stop around 7:30 p.m. eastern time. However, they did not find the child inside, the police complaint said. 

The driver allegedly told detectives that the father of the toddler “sold the child to an individual for $10,000 and asked her to complete the dropoff.”

According to CNN, Allegheny County Police Superintendent Coleman McDonough said during a press conference on Tuesday that Nancy, the driver of the car, was a woman “with whom Johnson was in the beginning of an ‘intermittent romantic relationship.'”

McDonough said the couple became close over social media in the past few months and all had previously spent time together with Johnson’s daughter. According to police reports, Nancy and Johnson had allegedly gotten into an argument on Saturday but they didn’t elaborate on the details of the argument. But once Johnson and his daughter exited the car, that’s when the driver drove away with the toddler. 

Now, authorities and the toddler’s family members are asking the public to help them locate the child and to contact them with any tips. 

“We miss Nalani. We want her home. If anyone has any info — it doesn’t matter how big or small — please call into the tip line,” Nalani’s grandmother, Taji Walsh, said during the Tuesday press conference, according to CNN.

Further, the driver told authorities that 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.” She said the woman in question would “flag” her down and Nancy would then be advised to turn over the toddler.

Nancy also told detectives involved with the case that everything had gone according to the alleged plan and she passed the toddler along with the car seat over to a woman and then she drove off. She said she also noticed a second woman inside the SUV that drove off with the toddler. But Allegheny County Police Superintendent Coleman McDonough said during the press conference on Tuesday that they have no evidence to corroborate Nancy’s version of the events. 

Nalani’s grandmother also told CNN affiliate KDKA, that the driver’s account of the events is completely false.

“If the police felt that PJ was in any way involved, he wouldn’t be walking free, he’d be locked somewhere up like she is,” Nalani’s grandmother said to CNN. 

The driver is currently being held in jail without bail at the Allegheny County Jail. According to ABC 15 Arizona, she was arraigned on Monday and charged with kidnapping of a minor.

So far, she has also been charged with interference with custody of children and concealment of whereabouts of a child. Her preliminary hearing is scheduled for September 16. 

Media outlets were unable to identify or reach out to an attorney for Nancy. Representatives of Uber also did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment. Dana Davis, a communications manager for Lyft, told CNN that while the incident did not happen on the Lyft platform, they have still banned Nancy from driving with the rideshare company, and they also said that the allegations made against her were “deeply disturbing.”

Nalani, the kidnapped toddler, is about 23 months old, with her second birthday on September 15. According to CNN, she’s about 3 feet tall and weighs about 30 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes.

The body of the 23-month-old toddler was found Tuesday at a park in Indiana County. As of this report, authorities have not released any information on whether or not Nancy is now a suspect in the child’s death.

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11-Year-Old Boy Steals School Bus, Leads Cops on a 45-Minute High-Speed Chase in Baton Rouge

Things That Matter

11-Year-Old Boy Steals School Bus, Leads Cops on a 45-Minute High-Speed Chase in Baton Rouge

Photo by David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

On Sunday morning, drivers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana were treated to a sight they definitely don’t see very often: an 11-year-old boy driving a school bus. But it wasn’t just any “ride”; it was an unaccompanied, illegal joy ride.

That’s right, over the weekend, a young Louisiana boy managed to steal a school bus from the local Head Start and take it out for a spin.

He then led police officers on a 45-minute, high-speed chase around Baton Rouge.

@lainetaylor

Only in Louisiana you have a 9 year old kid steal a school bus😂 #batonrouge #Louisiana #diffrentbreed #fypシ #foryou #schoolbus

♬ original sound – Laine Taylor

A TikTok user named @lainetaylor captured the chase on video. As the school bus zoomed down the street, it appeared that around a dozen cop cars were in hot-pursuit of the rogue boy.

Witness Joy Gradney described her first-hand experience to the local WAFB news station, saying, “As he got closer and closer and closer, I saw it’s a little boy in there and he was laughing. He was like giggling on the way across Florida [Ave] as he goes right past me. I’m like, ‘I can’t believe it’s a little boy!'”

According to authorities, the bus was a “push to start” model, so it was easy for the boy to start the vehicle without any keys. As for how he could reach the pedals, that’s a question we’d like an answer to.

Police also claimed that they little boy was flipping them off and taunting them as he drove the stolen school bus.

The chase eventually ended when the bus crashed into a tree. Thankfully, no one was hurt (although three other cars were apparently hit during the chase). The boy was arrested and put in handcuffs.

Libby Smith, the woman whose tree he crashed into, sounded as shocked as anyone when she found out who the bus’s driver was.

“I’m thinking, ‘What in the world is going on?’ And my first thought is that it was a lot of kids on the bus,” she explained to WAFB. “Thank goodness he was okay he was safe, but it was not your typical Sunday afternoon occurrence for sure!”

According to reports, the police charged the boy with “theft of a vehicle, aggravated flight, damage to property and aggravated assault.” We have a feeling he won’t be stealing any more busses any time soon.

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Quino, Cartoonist And Creator Of Mafalda Comics, Dies At 88

Culture

Quino, Cartoonist And Creator Of Mafalda Comics, Dies At 88

Juan Mabromata / AFP via Getty Images

Mafalda is one of the most iconic cartoon characters for millions of Latinos around the world. The little girl highlighted the social inequities and pitfalls of dictatorships and authoritarian governments. Quino, the man who created Mafalda, died Sept. 30 at 88.

Joaquín “Quino” Salvador Lavado, famed cartoonist who created Mafalda, died at 88.

The world was first introduced to Mafalda in September 1964 in Primera Plana in Argentina. Soon after, the comic strip went global with readers on three other continents. The world fell in love with the young girl’s strong political statements.

Comic fans are mourning the death of Quino.

Lavado created the Mafalda comic strips from 1964 until 1973 being critical of dictatorships around the world, including in Argentina. The cartoonist stopped creating the Mafalda comic strips when the coup d’etat installed Gen. Augusto Pinochet. Three years later, the cartoonist fled to Spain to avoid being killed during the military dictatorship in Argentina.

Mafalda was a cultural icon that touched people from different walks of life.

At its height, Mafalda was being printed in 26 different languages for millions of readers around the world. Mafalda took complex and real issues facing the world and boiled them down into bite size moments people were able to understand by bringing it down to a child’s pure level.

“However, even if Mafalda is dissentient and rebellious, she is still a child, this is why she does not abandon the world to its fate, but she speaks with it and nurses it putting even plasters on its wounds if necessary,” reads part of Mafalda’s bio on Quino’s official website. “She invites it to improve, she exhorts it to resist, she makes it promise her that it would be still there when, as an adult, she’ll be an interpreter at the UN.”

Many in the English-speaking world do not know or know very little of Mafalda.

The Argentinian cartoon found wild success in Latin America, Europe, Asia, and Quebec. Fans are sending their condolences through social media giving Mafalda and her quick wit and political prowess a time to shine.

Mafalda got people interested in the way the world and its governments work.

The young girl was always very politically active and interested. Her dreams and her zingers always went back to the heart of the issues the world was talking about. Mafalda influenced generations of young Latinas into being politically engaged and involved because of her involvement.

It’s hard not to honor Mafalda and her undying will to move the world forward.

When Mafalda speaks, she has a way of letting people feel like they have been seen. She is not afraid to speak up on the things she sees and doesn’t like. She is not afraid to be the one to voice the opinion everyone else is thinking.

Rest in peace, Quino.

You work will forever guide people through this world with intention and purpose. Thank you for giving us someone to see ourselves in.

READ: Here’s Why You Should Be Familiar With Mafalda, One Of The Best Latino Cartoons Of All Time

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