Rogue and Wicked

Who killed Tiffany Valiante?

October 28, 2022 Tiffany Season 1 Episode 1
Who killed Tiffany Valiante?
Rogue and Wicked
More Info
Rogue and Wicked
Who killed Tiffany Valiante?
Oct 28, 2022 Season 1 Episode 1
Tiffany

We dive deep into the mystery of NJ local, Tiffany Valiante. This episode includes a suspicious death that is still unsolved. Join us as we explain theories we have and help us solve this cold case.

Trigger warning! This episode includes cursing and graphic descriptions of the medical examiner's report. If you cannot handle gore, then this is not the episode for you.

Resources:
Who Killed Tiffany Valiante? Questions Persist of Her Mysterious Death (damatolawfirm.com)

Evidence in Tiffany Valiante's death was mishandled, report says | Local News | pressofatlanticcity.com

Teen died on the tracks. State called it a suicide, but NJ Transit bungled the evidence, analysis finds - nj.com

South Jersey Lawyer | Justice for Tiffany Valiante Case (damatolawfirm.com)

Was High School Grad Being Chased Before Grisly Train Death? (thedailybeast.com)

Music by astrofreq

I miss spoke during the episode and gave the wrong address to the website lol. 
my bad! rogueandwicked.buzzsprout.com

If you want a good read then check out Wendy's book "Sage" which is available for purchase @ www.roguepoet.net

Support the Show.

If you want to support the show please go to our host site and subscribe to get access to bonus episodes and content. rogueandwicked.buzzsprout.com or you can leave us a 5 star review on any and all platforms.

Please check out our other social media sites for upcoming episodes and shorts. You can find us on TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, X, Patreon and YouTube @rogueandwicked (don't forget to like, share and subscribe)

Show Notes Transcript

We dive deep into the mystery of NJ local, Tiffany Valiante. This episode includes a suspicious death that is still unsolved. Join us as we explain theories we have and help us solve this cold case.

Trigger warning! This episode includes cursing and graphic descriptions of the medical examiner's report. If you cannot handle gore, then this is not the episode for you.

Resources:
Who Killed Tiffany Valiante? Questions Persist of Her Mysterious Death (damatolawfirm.com)

Evidence in Tiffany Valiante's death was mishandled, report says | Local News | pressofatlanticcity.com

Teen died on the tracks. State called it a suicide, but NJ Transit bungled the evidence, analysis finds - nj.com

South Jersey Lawyer | Justice for Tiffany Valiante Case (damatolawfirm.com)

Was High School Grad Being Chased Before Grisly Train Death? (thedailybeast.com)

Music by astrofreq

I miss spoke during the episode and gave the wrong address to the website lol. 
my bad! rogueandwicked.buzzsprout.com

If you want a good read then check out Wendy's book "Sage" which is available for purchase @ www.roguepoet.net

Support the Show.

If you want to support the show please go to our host site and subscribe to get access to bonus episodes and content. rogueandwicked.buzzsprout.com or you can leave us a 5 star review on any and all platforms.

Please check out our other social media sites for upcoming episodes and shorts. You can find us on TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, X, Patreon and YouTube @rogueandwicked (don't forget to like, share and subscribe)

The mystery of Tiffany Valiante ( July 12th 2015)

Tiffany Valiante was a 6’2” star athlete who had accepted a volley ball scholarship to Mercy College in New York after graduating from Oakcrest highschool in Mays Landing, NJ. Aside from volley ball she also had a love for softball and other sports. She played for the Lady A’s travel softball team and one year of oakcrest softball until she found a love for volley ball. She played middle hitter and was playing for oakcrest high school and east coast crush club volley ball. She was a typical teenager who was so excited to start her first semester in college at the end of the summer. She was ranked 8th in the state for the number of volleyball kills and in one high school season she had 279 kills and 39 blocks. So its safe to say she was a badass and really skilled in her passions. 

She had a dog named Tucker, two sisters, a nephew and two godchildren. She came from a large family and had many aunts and uncles, cousins and other extended family. Her parents described her as happy and outgoing teenager. 

On the night of July 12th 2015 she was invited to her cousins graduation party. She decided to leave the party at approximately 9:30pm and went home. The last sighting of Tiffany was when he was standing in her driveway arguing with her mother about using a friends debit card without their permission. Her mother became frustrated with Tiffany and went in to get her father. When they returned Tiffany was gone. Of course they figured she was pissed off and went back to the party to blow off some steam. After an hour they realized that Tiffany had still not returned home so they contacted some of her friends to see if she had gone back to the party. The friends her parents contacted at the party said she never returned that night. 

The family gathered some friends and formed a small search party to look for Tiffany. One of the family members found tiffany’s cell phone on the edge of the yard. Which really concerned her family because let’s face it, no teenager leaves without their phone. Unless, let’s say, you get a little tipsy and drop it. Approximately 11:30pm one of tiffany’s family members noticed flashing patrol lights near his home a few miles away. He drove over to the police and asked what was going on? He was informed that a young woman was hit by a train. He flew like a bat out of hell back to the house to tell her Parents what he had just been told and they drove over there with the quickness to see if it was indeed their daughter. I cant imagine that feeling of knowing your daughter is missing and seeing that.  i know the pit of your stomach must feel so sour and twisty feeling just going there to see if its your child that had been killed. 

When they arrived minutes later they identified that it was Tiffany Valiante’s body that had been on the tracks. 

The train was travelling 80 mph and the conductor of the train said he laid on the horn when he saw a young girl standing on the tracks. She did not move. She just stood there and then he hit her. The medical examiner ruled the death a suicide ( 48 hours after Tiffany’s death) because he didn’t see any signs indicating it was anything other than that. She didn’t have on the shorts she had on when she left the party. She also did not have any shoes on either. Her blood toxicology report said she also did not have any drugs OR alcohol in her system. Her family was in disbelief because they said she was a happy teen and was so excited to go to college that it didn’t make sense she would up and just commit suicide for no apparent reason. 

Taken on Diannes Deer camera in her front yard, a photo showed tiffany walking fully dressed. After she was deceased her shorts were never found. At the time she was caught on the camera she had her shorts, headband and shoes on. 

Tiffany’s parents, grief striken and looking for answers walked the path from the drive way in mayslanding to the tracks in galloway looking for evidence of what happened in those two hours their daughter was missing. Her mother discovered Tiffany’s shoes and headband on the side of the road in the bushes during a morning walk, alone, and about a mile from the house. They were sitting there under the bushes as if she had taken them off and left them side by side 2 weeks after her death and a mile from her home.  The pressure from the family and the town for their quick judgement, the police brought in tracking dogs to retrace Tiffany’s steps that night. The police made a map of where the dogs tracked her scent and figured She left her house on Mannheim Ave, turned right onto Drosera ave. turned left onto wrangleboro Road, Turned left onto Genoa Ave and then left onto the rail line and was struck by the train right passed Prague Ave. This was 4 miles from her house in almost a big circle. The terrain was rough especially walking with bare feet. From where her shoes were found she would have had to walk 3 miles barefoot.  This is in the pine barrens so its rough terrain. Dark, so dark you cannot see your own hand in front of your face. 

The autopsy was completed 48 hours after she had passed on. Heres what the autopsy said. Tiffany valiantes body had extensive crushing injuries covering the entire body. Multiple organs were recovered from the scene and collected in separate bags. There were fractures to extremities. All extremities had been amputated. Identification was completed by Tiffany's uncle Michael valiante but no recognition of visible features were possible. She was recovered with no personal property or clothing. Her body was crushed and in pieces. The face was completely crushed. The medical examiner concluded that the cause of death was multiple traumatic injuries and ruled a suicide.
 
 The valiantes attorney hired Donald Jason, who was a pathologist and former medical examiner to go over Tiffany's report. He was pissed and argued that investigators rushed to judgement when concluding that Tiffany had committed suicide before their work had even begun. 

It had only been six days after the investigation to rule her death a suicide. 
 
 Donald jason wrote in his report "This apparently unnatural death was treated with the assumption that the death was not due to a crime," "This bias negatively affected the way in which the scene was processed by all members of the team, both responding police and medical examiner's staff."

NOW, The area had significant amounts of rain in those 4 days. It was said they had gotten over 4 inches of rain during that time so any real evidence would have been damaged from the weather conditions. I know that the police see what they see in that situation and I understand that it looks like a suicide but every case should be treated like a homicide when family members say their son or daughter isn’t suicidal. Or at least just investigate it as MAYBE, MAYYYBEEEEE a potential homicide. Especially when common sense tells you that a girl walking 4 miles through heavily wooded areas would probably have dirty feet. 

NJ transit officers did collect some evidence at the scene BUT they stored the evidence in paper bags with plastic bags over the paper ones. So guess what happened? Mold grew inside of the evidence bag and moisture- induced bacterial contamination. So  now the evidence is useless. This was discovered by an independent lab and the report was released by a forensic specialist,  hired by the family.  Dr Julie A Heinig reported They were only able to get very little usable DNA and all other evidence was contaminated. 

Heinig also said other pieces of evidence were improperly logged and were not labeled with the individuals who handled them. Causing problems with maintaining a chain of custody. She said that initialing evidence is an industry standard. ALSO, this made me so fucking mad, Tiffanys blood from her blood card could only be identified using paternity testing because that ALSO was improperly preserved. Some of the evidence had been outdoors exposed to the elements for a few weeks prior to being collected. The t shirt was completely useless because that piece of evidence was stored in a plastic bag and tied in a knot. Mold grew inside of the bag and destroyed any evidence on the t-shirt. 

Here’s what really pissed me off. This was a potential murder weapon. POTENTIAL. Doesn’t mean it actually was but when the family won a court order to get the evidence tested, aside from the contaminated evidence they received a photo… of an axe found near the scene which had red markings on it. Could it have been blood? Well who knows because NJ transit lost the fucking axe. THEY LOST THE FUCKING AXE… that’s a big ass piece of evidence to lose. How do you lose an axe? I could see something small like a cell phone… but a fucking axe? Omg. This infuriates me… all shitty police work infuriates me but this is a potential murder weapon. 

The original medical examiner, Andrew Falzon, made a ruling in 2018 that he was going to back up his previous ruling in 2015 that she had died by suicide. 

They had no acknowledgment that the authorities (at all levels of government) even received the case BUT it was definitely sent to all levels of government to examine it. 

Tiffany’s case was featured in a 2017 NJ advance media investigation that revealed systemic problems in how nj investigates suspicious deaths, from conflicts of interests in investigations to breakdowns in how evidence is handled. According to nj.com. Also Governor Phil Murphy and lawmakers said they were “preparing for a huge overhaul of the entire system. “

The medical examiner didn’t conclude that it was murder but I read that her skull was mangled and if she was killed by an axe prior to being on the tracks that night then they wouldn’t be able to tell anyway because of the state her body was in when they found her. 

I was thinking about what I am about to say before I even had gotten to this point in my research. I kept saying to myself “ was she raped?” was there any evidence of rape? She was found without her shorts on so something must have happened. Well guess fucking what? THEY NEVER DID A RAPE KID ANALYSIS ON HER! AND DID NO DNA TESTING ON ITEMS RECOVERED FROM THE SCENE AT ALL. 

A separate lawsuit challenging the medical examiners ruling was dismissed according to court records but the new suit seeks to compel NJ transit police to release DNA swabs and personal items that may have contained blood and other biological evidence so the family can commission another lab to perform testing. 

But later on in March 2018, after the state medical examiner Andrew Falzon agreed to review the case he said no fingerprint analysis was done on Tiffany. There were no dental records checked. NO dna conducted on her body and no microscopic analysis of organs were done. Which would have identified It to actually be Tiffany Valiante. He also concluded that no radiography was done ( its used to rule out possible gun shot wounds. 

Even with this analysis he still decided to leave the manner of death unchanged. He quoted, “ my examination supports the investigation’s original conclusion that the manner of death be deemed a suicide.” He wrote that in an letter to D’amato which he shares with the Daily beast. “as the state medical examiner and as a parent, please extend my condolences to the Valiente family for their tragic loss.”

I have so many questions about that because he originally thought that it couldn't be determined. So idk if there was pressure from the state to agree or if he just changed his mind. But the retired medical examiner Donald jason stated "it is my opinion, within reasonable medical certainty, that the cause of death of Tiffany valiante was undetermined. With no cause of death known, no manner of death, natural or unnatural, can be determined. The story that the victim jumped onto the tracks is suspect"

I am no specialist but I agree with Donald Jason. Because even though you cant see exteriorly if there had been a murder, it is possible that she was hit over the head with he axe and then thrown onto the tracks alive. Hit by the train and then ruled a suicide. Her body was so mangled that I believe that it would have been impossible to see it as a murder unless she was strangled or was killed with a gunshot or water. I don’t want to get gory or anything but her body was in pieces, her organs were quoted on the medical examiners report as “exploded from her body”. So really, how could you say definitely that it was a suicide if it was possible a blow to the head could be mistaken for the impact of the train?

Donald Jason said “ In my career, I’ve done between 10,000 and 20,000 autopsies and probably 100 or so involved people being hit by trains.” So it was unlikely that she had been hit by a train. Jason said he finds it “very improbable” that Tiffany walked four miles to end her life when there were closer and easier ways to do it, but that NJ Transit was “very happy to just call it a suicide because then they’re off the hook.” A death on the tracks due to negligence can trigger increased oversight, large fines, and even possible criminal charges.

Tiffany’s parents ( Dianne and Stephen Valiante) believe Tiffany was murdered and thrown onto the train tracks to conceal the killing.  They have an ongoing lawsuit and are seeking information about their daughters case. D’amato law firm has a website titled  “ justice for Tiffany Valiante”  and you can contact them for any information about the case. I will post the link in the show notes. They are offering a $20,000 dollar reward for information about her death. 

“I think it’s more probable that she was running away from somebody and trying to escape,” Dr. Jason said. “So I would call that either an accident or a homicide. But certainly not a suicide… In my report, I concluded it’s probably safest just to call it undetermined, because we don’t know the facts yet. And they never really fully investigated anything other than suicide.” 

There are many reasons why I think that its probable that she was running away from someone. So lets revisit the night of her death. Because I believe the devil is in the details. Tiffany spent the morning in mayslanding at the family’s home. She left for a few to go get a drink at a local WAWA. Around noonish Tiffany and her parents went to her cousins for her graduation party from Holy Spirit High school in Absecon. There were people coming and going all day. Her family said tiffany was excited about college and was talking to people about a plan her and her two half sisters had to go pick up a kitten for their mom a week or so later as a birthday surprise. Around 9pm things get a little weird. A close friend of Tiffany’s called her parents and told them she needed to speak to them IN PERSOn. So they went home to meet this girl. The girl showed up at Tiffany’s parents house at approximately 9:15pm with her mother in tow. They told tiffany’s mother diane, that Tiffany had used her debit card and had stolen 300 dollars to buy clothes and food. (the valiante family said it was only 86 dollars and that it was corroborated by receipts they found in tiffanys room)

Steve and diane called tiffany’s cell phone and within two minutes she had shown up to the house. According to civil deposition transcripts obtained by the daily beast, Dianne defended Tiffany, saying she had no reason to use her friends card, since they had given her their credit card. Apparently shocked by the accusation, Tiffany – who had been caught by her parents taking money from their bank account a few months earlier – asked her friend how she thought she could ever steal from her, and flatly denied it all. 

At 9:34pm tiffany’s friend drove off with her mother. Once they were gone Dianne began to search Tiffany’s car and she witnessed tiffany slip the card into her back pocket. That’s when Dianne went back to the house to get steve but Tiffany was gone by the time they had gotten back. Dianne called the friend and told her that Tiffany “ ran away”. So the friend came back to the house and two other girls who knew Tiffany started looking for her. Dianne disagrees that she used the term “ ran away” but the deposition says otherwise. 

That particular night it was pitch black. And mayslanding is a very quiet town that is heavily wooded in the pine barrens. Tiffany had nyctophobia. (which is a debilitating fear of the dark) so its unlikely that she would just run away into the darkness. Dianne and Steve searched the area on foot then by car. Tiffany’s half sisters and her uncle were looking around the woods on quads. 

It was 11pm when steve spotted Tiffany’s cell phone in the brush near the end of the driveway. She even used her phone in the shower so it was odd that she would leave it behind. Even out of a fit of anger. Sadly, by the time they found her phone she was all ready dead. She was struck by the train heading from Philadelphia to Atlantic city in a very isolated part of the woods. 

The apprentice engineer was Marvin Olivares. He had been working with NJ transit for a little over a year and was in control that night. He told police “she was standing on the train tracks near Tilton Road in Galloway Township, but did not move when the trains engineer sounded the horn and applied the emergency brakes” The problem with the statements given by the conductors of the train that night were that they were inconsistent. 

Another version, Olivares gave, of the story  was that Tiffany had “darted out” from the woods and ran onto the tracks, after which she was hit. 

And another version of that was that Olivares didn’t see Tiffany until the train was “right on top” of her. 

And another version was that olivares had spotted her from a half-mile away, crouched alongside the tracks. Se then stood up and dove in front of he train. 

Daniels also gave conflicting accounts of that night. He said that he instructed the apprentice engineer to blow the horn and ring the bell as he put the train into emergency brake application. But when he was put under oath Daniels admitted he had his back to the cab while chatting with his conductor and never rang the bell. The black box confirmed that. 

The suicide theory wouldn’t have been too far fetched however because it was learned that Tiffany had been having issues leading up to her death. But her mother thought they were typical teenage problems. Dianne and Tiffany had been fighting and bickering often. So much so that child protective services paid three separate visits to the home. A teacher noticed bruising on her arm and Dianne admitted to causing the bruise. She said she punched her daughter after an argument. The caseworker recommended counseling and they both attended. Tiffanys grandfather died and she started skipping class and smoking some of the ganga. She took money from Diannes bank account right before Christmas. They had trouble communicating an the therapist’s official assessment was that the pair enjoyed a stable family relationship. 

While speaking with the therapist, Tiffany said she wasn’t depressed or suicidal.  They closed the case after Dianne “acknowledged not being able to moe on from incidents.” That she would seek “ independent support, if needed” then the case was closed. 

Six months before she died, Tiffany came out as gay. She was dating a woman from Philadelphia but it wasn’t working out so they amicably ended things and she started dating a girl she met online. Her parents were accepting of her sexuality but didn’t believe it was anything more than a phase. 

There were also rumors floating around school about Tiffany’s behaviour in the months leading up to her death. “some of the other girls in school wanted to ‘experiment with her, which may have upset certain girls, and also certain guys” one person said. (which makes you think a bit as to the homophobia element from other students)

One classmate said she had been acting differently for a couple months before she died, that she had been feeling distant from her parents and that she was lonely. 

Another said she heard that Tiffany texted a friend the night of her death with a cryptic message that said “ just answer yes or no: should I do it?”

Another student said even though tiffany was popular and well -liked she put on a brave face, but still felt she could never fit in and felt sad about life in general but insisted that she never talked about suicide before. 

A couple of tiffany’s friends told the investigators she had harmed herself by cutting her wrist and leg two times. One said she was depressed and said she might have had an untreated mental illness that may have played a part. 

Her parents however, did not agree with the statements but said were willing to accept it if their daughter did commit suicide but they ultimately weren’t buying it. 

After the statements were given, the day Dianne found tiffany’s shoes, she also found a keychain that didn’t belong to her daughter and a sweatshirt about 15 feet away that also was not her daughters. Which could be possible evidence that there was another person there but the police lost the keychain before it could be analyzed.  (seems like they are losing a lot of evidence here… coincidence? Hmm)

There were a few leads though that seemed like a better narrative for the story. Because again, a girl walking barefoot for four miles through the woods to go jump in front of a train on rough terrain that’s afraid of the dark on a pitch black night seems a little far fetched. 

A wawa manager came forward after he claimed to overhear a group of teenage boys talking about tiffany having been kidnapped at gunpoint, humiliated, forced to strip down to her underwear and driven to the train station by her abductors. He claimed the three boys spoke tohim about things they heard in reference to the Valiante incident too. He gave this transcript in November of 2016 under oath at the Atlantic county Prosecuter’s office. 

The manager said the boys told him that Tiffany’s friend had been incredibly upset about the stolen debit card. After tiffany stormed off from her house the friend called someone who came by and picked her up in a truck with an “unidentified guy” from that point tiffany was led to her death on the train tracks. But because the managers story wasn’t accurate about where incidents occurred they found holes in the stories. Especially knowing they were third hand stories, heresay pretty much, and it didn’t go anywhere. 

Police interviewed the three boys the manager told police about but they said the tales were outlandish and each had airtight alibis. The Atlantic county prosecutor’s office deemed that the manager was credible but didn’t have enough evidence to bring the case to a grand jury. 

“While we strongly believe she was murdered, the complaint allows for the possibility that the co-conspirators did not intend to kill her, but that their violent actions still resulted in her death,” D’Amato (the family’s lawyer) said in 2017. “One way or another, they were responsible for her being on the railroad tracks, and they must and will be held accountable for their unconscionable conduct.”

Her parents believe that their daughter was murdered and that she was thrown onto the tracks. The medical examiner still will not change the mannor of death to undetermined to bring justice for the family. The lawyer however is going a 20, 000 dollar cash reward to anyone who comes forth with information about the case. 

This case is really sad and I stumbled upon it in the strangest way. I happened to be driving passed either her parents house, a friends house or a supporter of tiffany… im not sure… but I saw this tiny little sign on the lawn. I happened to look over at it. It said “ who killed Tiffany Valiante?” and I was like who did kill Tiffany? I googled it while I was driving like an asshole. Could have died but I didn’t care. You don’t see cold cases just sitting in plain sight on someones front lawn. So I found all this information. I got back to my house and started going down the rabbit hole and I found all this information about this case an it took me… it touched me and it made me feel like I saw it for a reason. Im a big believer in fate and destiny. How many true crime podcasters just happen to see a case staring them right in their face like that? I knew I had to cover it.

Now for my theories. Her feet, clean. Not possible without shoes in the rough terrain. The axe with what looked like blood on it near by the scene of the possible crime. Her body being too mangled to determine if there was blunt force trauma. To me screams its entirely possible someone beat her and hit her with the axe and threw her on the tracks to die. Or she was all ready dead when they threw her on the tracks. 

Also, getting from point A to point B just to throw yourself in front of a train doesn’t seem viable to me. What it sounds like to me is someone picked her up and took her to that spot. No rape kit was done and her torso was found without shorts. So is it possible that the manager had it right? That someone picked Tiffany up and stripped her down to humiliated her and possibly raped her or whatever and murdered her? 

Its very possible that the friend knows more about this but nothing is for certain at this point. 

One other theory I have been toying with is the idea that maybe she was fleeing her captors and ran right in front of the train not looking around her. 

 I really hope Tiffanys family gets justice for her and that maybe this podcast makes someone come forward. After seeing this girl and what potential she had it really broke my heart. And it also broke my heart for the family of Tiffany because I know what its like to fight with my mom and how you never wanna leave someone angry because it could be the last time you see them. 

In the years following her death the family erected a small hut on a concrete patch by the train tracks where Tiffany died. Inside its decorated with pictures of tiffany. A bench is set up for visitors to sit and remember her and a small radio plays nonstop, powered by a portable generator. 

Steve contstucted a sculpture he made out of two large tree trunks that says “Tiffany we love you so very much” and he laid out a plague in the back yard garden that reads “ rooted in love, forever in our hearts” 

Diane said “ they didn’t think the family was going to fight, they thought we’d give up”

 

 

 

 

 

Who Killed Tiffany Valiante? Questions Persist of Her Mysterious Death (damatolawfirm.com)

Evidence in Tiffany Valiante's death was mishandled, report says | Local News | pressofatlanticcity.com

Teen died on the tracks. State called it a suicide, but NJ Transit bungled the evidence, analysis finds - nj.com

South Jersey Lawyer | Justice for Tiffany Valiante Case (damatolawfirm.com)

Was High School Grad Being Chased Before Grisly Train Death? (thedailybeast.com)