Tiffany Valiante’s Family Urge NJ Transit to Review Her Death
The family of the 18-year-old Mays Landing girl who was hit by an NJ Transit train in 2015, and, was recently the focus of an episode of Netflix's Unsolved Mysteries, have asked the agency's Board of Directors to review their investigation into her death.
Tiffany Valiante's death was ruled a suicide at the time by the medical examiner's office, but her family never believed Tiffany committed suicide and they continue to pursue a murder investigation.
Wednesday, Diane Valiante spoke to the NJ Transit Board during a 3-minute window in the meeting's public comment segment, urging them to reconsider their decision, according to the Press of Atlantic City.
"More than seven years after Tiffany’s death, we are more convinced than ever that investigators, including members of your police department, were wrong, that they rushed to close her case as a trespasser suicide, and we want to know why."
Following Mrs. Valiente's appeal to the Board of Directors, Jim Smith, an NJ Transit spokesman, issued a statement.
NJ TRANSIT worked collaboratively with the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office and the Medical Examiner’s Office. As the Medical Examiner’s Office has reached a conclusion with their final determination, we consider the case closed. Our thoughts remain with the Valiante family.
From the family's perspective, there certainly are many questions and inconsistencies about the case.
They say Tiffany did not seem depressed before she died. She was excited about having just graduated from Oakcrest High and looked forward to playing volleyball on a college scholarship in the fall.
On the night in question, Valiante would have had to have walked five miles in her bare feet to the spot on the railroad tracks in Galloway Township where she died.
Tiffany suffered from Nyctophobia, an extreme fear of the dark, and would not have wanted to be in the dark spot on railroad tracks at night where she died.
Tiffany's cell phone, which the family says she always had with her, was later found discarded outside her home.
In 2020, family attorney Paul D'Amato convinced an Atlantic County Superior Court Judge to reopen discovery into the case and DNA from this case tested, which never happened at the time of Tiffany's death.
Earlier this year, a Daily Beast article on Tiffany's case brought several other interesting bits of information to light, including discrepancies in the statement taken from the NJ Transit engineer at the controls of the train that night, a fight that occurred between Tiffany and her mother and subsequent counseling and Tiffany having come out as gay in the months before her death.
Tiffany Valiente's case is well-remembered locally. Seven years later, you still see posters around South Jersey offering a reward from her family for information on the truth behind her death.
The Unsolved Mysteries episode which premiered on October 18 on Netflix has 16 million views.