LOCAL NEWS

‘I Don’t Think She Wants To Be Lost’ – Friends, Family Search For Missing Utah Tech CEO

Oct 11, 2019, 10:41 PM | Updated: 10:46 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Friends and family are continuing to search for a Utah CEO who went missing in California at the beginning of the week.

“She’s one of those incredible people that’s an engineering mind and a CEO mind smashed into one,” said colleague Emily Smith. “I mean, people like her don’t come around very often.”

Valenti’s husband said she was last seen Monday afternoon in Palo Alto, California, wearing a white t-shirt and torn jeans. Her phone was pinged in San Jose, which is where she was headed. But Valenti never returned her rental car and never got on her flight back to Utah.

“She’s an incredible person and I don’t think she wants to be lost,” Smith said.

For now, police are treating this as a “voluntary missing persons case.” But friends and family said this is unlike her.

“We’ve lost one of our own I think is what feels so strange about this. Like she’s one of us and she’s lost but we can still find her,” Smith said.

Smith has known Valenti for a couple of years and both were finalists heading into the 12th Annual Women Tech Awards held at the Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City on Wednesday.

“She was very much planning on being there, had I’m sure life been as normal,” Smith said. “She had guests that were seated at the table waiting.”

Soon after Smith arrived, she sent Valenti a text.

“I was sure she was going to win,” Smith said. “I texted her when we sat down. I said, ‘hey what table are you at? I bet you’re going to win the entrepreneurial excellence award.’”

No response. When it came time to announce the winner for the award, Smith pressed record on her phone to capture the moment.

In the video, you can hear the presenter say, “the entrepreneurial excellence award to Erin Valenti”, followed by applause. But then, no one walked on stage and the room fell silent.

“We didn’t know why she wasn’t at the awards. That was my first realization that something was weird,” Smith said. “Immediately we assumed maybe she was on a plane or something because it was very out of the ordinary for her to not be somewhere where she had anticipated being.”

It wasn’t until later that Smith saw a post on Valenti’s husband’s Facebook page and learned her friend and colleague had already been missing for two days.

“Oh my gosh, she’s actually missing? That was awful,” she said.

As family members search for any sign of Valenti in California, the Utah tech community is left wondering and hoping for answers.

“She’s a genius. She’s such an incredible mind. We need to find her,” Smith said.

Valenti is a woman with blue eyes and blonde hair. She was last seen driving a gray Nissan Murano with California license plates 8LUD641.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

Keith Jensen's Christmas home lit up by all the festive lights. (KSL-TV)...
Michael Locklear

Millcreek man lights up neighborhood with the face of Santa

Millcreek man is spreading Christmas cheer through tens of thousands of lights all around his home.
1 day ago
FILE PHOTO: The Chickadee lift is pictured at Snowbird in Little Cottonwood Canyon on Thursday, Oct...
Michael Houck

Avalanche triggered at Snowbird resort, no injuries reported

Rescue crews responded to the Snowbird Ski Resort after an avalanche was triggered on a trail. 
1 day ago
FILE PHOTO (Lehi Police Department/Facebook)...
Michael Houck

Lehi building placed on ‘lock down’ after reports of man with a gun

A misunderstanding caused a building to be placed in "lock down" after reports of a man with a gun Tuesday.
1 day ago
handcuffs...
Pat Reavy, KSL.com

Price man arrested in woman’s 2019 death now being called a murder

A Price man has been arrested for investigation of murder in connection with the shooting death of a woman in 2019 in Carbon County that was once considered an accidental shooting.
1 day ago
A Ute Football mini helmet at the U of U official store. (KSL-TV)...
Shelby Lofton

‘It was a dream come true;’ Utah football fans hyped up for another Rose Bowl

Utah football fans are making plans for the Rose Bowl after winning the PAC-12 championship game Friday night.
1 day ago
The former Utah man and pilot, Dan Ragan....
KSL TV

Utah resident remembers pilot killed in Dallas Air Show crash

The former Utah man who tragically passed away in a deadly air show crash in Texas is being remembered by neighbors and friends. 
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 reasons you may want to consider apartment life over owning a home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Take this quiz before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t let a ransomware attack get you down | Protect your workplace today with cyber insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
‘I Don’t Think She Wants To Be Lost’ – Friends, Family Search For Missing Utah Tech CEO