Tech CEO Found Dead Thought She Was 'in the Matrix'

Dad faults police, says search for Erin Valenti wasn't a priority
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 15, 2019 9:29 AM CDT
Tech CEO Found Dead Thought She Was 'in the Matrix'
Erin Valenti.   (Facebook)

The father of a tech CEO found dead in the back seat of a rental SUV in a quiet area of San Jose, Calif., is claiming a "charade" of a police search. Cops began searching for Erin Valenti, CEO of Utah-based app development company Tinker Ventures, after she missed a flight home to Salt Lake City from San Jose on Oct. 7. But Joseph Valenti says an official missing-person report wasn't filed until Thursday. He adds officers were unable to locate his 33-year-old daughter even though they spoke to her by phone; had the make, model, and license plate of her rental vehicle; and obtained cellphone information that put her in the Almaden neighborhood, per the San Jose Mercury News. Erin's body was ultimately found Saturday, a half-mile from her last known location in Almaden, by someone who'd volunteered through the "Help Find Erin Valenti" Facebook page.

As Erin hadn't used her phone or credit cards since Oct. 7, her father is left wondering whether her body sat almost in plain sight for days. "I am totally frustrated and pissed off with how [the police search] was conducted," he says, noting police considered his daughter to be voluntarily missing and claimed she might've simply been out of touch. Erin, who'd been visiting friends while in the area for a workshop and tech conference, had talked to her parents in New York for hours on Oct. 7. But "her thoughts were disconnected" and "she talked a mile a minute," mother Whitey Valenti tells the Mercury News. "She'd say, 'I'm coming home for Thanksgiving,' then ... she was saying she's in the Matrix." No cause of death has been released. On Sunday, police said they were withholding details as "the investigation is open and ongoing." (More missing person stories.)

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