Monday, February 28, 2022

WEIRD STORIES: 'We’re in the Matrix... It's a Thought Experiment,' The Last Words of a Utah Tech CEO, A Family Seeks Answers

Source: NY Post

Published: October 14, 2019

By: Yaron Steinbuch

A 33-year-old tech executive from Utah who had gone missing was found dead in the back seat of her rental car along a residential street in San Jose, California — and her father is accusing cops of botching the search for her, according to a report.

The body of Erin Valenti — CEO of Salt Lake City-based app development company Tinker Ventures — was found Saturday in San Jose’s quiet Almaden neighborhood, according to the Mercury News.

She was last heard from on Oct. 7, when she missed her flight from San Jose back to Utah.

The coroner’s office has not officially identified Valenti’s body, which was found a half-mile from her last known location, but her family confirmed it was her.


“While we were praying for a different outcome, we are so appreciative for the help and support you have given,” according to a Facebook post by the group Help Find Erin Valenti.

“Please remember Erin as the beautiful, smart, funny woman that she was,” it said.

Erin’s father, Joseph Valenti, expressed frustration with the San Jose Police Department and its search for his daughter in the San Francisco Bay Area.

“The beginning of it was a charade — and I am totally frustrated and pissed off with how that was conducted,” he told the newspaper.

Erin Valenti - Facebook

Erin Valenti had been in Southern California and then the Bay Area on business and to visit old friends and colleagues.

“Heading to SF and LA soon…whose (sic) around? DM me!!” she wrote in her last Facebook post on Sept. 25.

After meeting former colleagues on Sand Hill Road, Valenti called her parents in New York on Oct. 7, talking a mile a minute and not making sense, before missing her flight home that night, according to the report.


Valenti’s family said they went to the police, who spoke to her by phone and went looking for her, but were unable to locate her.

Joseph Valenti said that despite all of the information provided to police — the make, model and license plate of the rental car, descriptions of her erratic phone call, and data tracking the call to the Almaden neighborhood — cops didn’t file a missing-person report until Thursday.

And when they did, he said, police described her as voluntarily missing.

They told the family that Erin was an adult, and she could have just taken off for a few days, her father said.

“That’s bull—,” Joseph Valenti said, “because she was due for a flight out of San Jose airport back to Salt Lake City.”

Sgt. Enrique Garcia, a police spokesman, told the Mercury News on Sunday: “We’re not sharing additional details at this time since the investigation is open and ongoing.”

Erin Valenti - Facebook

Disappointed with the police response, the family set up a “Help Find Erin Valenti” Facebook page, which helped rally volunteers to help search for the missing woman.

One of the locals finally found Erin’s rental SUV parked at the curb of a suburban street, looked inside and discovered her body in the back, Joseph Valenti said.

Her parents told the Mercury News they feared she may have suffered a manic episode.

“Her thoughts were disconnected. She talked a mile a minute. She’d say ‘I’m coming home for Thanksgiving,’ then in the next she was saying she’s in the Matrix,” a reference to the science fiction movie, her mom, Whitey Valenti, told the newspaper.

Erin’s husband, Harrison Weinstein, had previously said she had no history of mental illness.

“There’s never any history of anything like this, no mental health diagnosis, no hospitalization, no substance use, no arrests — as clear of a record as you can get. This is incredibly unlike her,” Weinstein said during the search.

“She is an extremely high-achievement, successful person,” he added.

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