Father Of Utah Tech CEO Found Dead In California Says Police Didn’t Do Enough
SAN JOSE, Calif. – While family and friends process the death of Utah tech CEO Erin Valenti, they’re also questioning the handling of the investigation by the San Jose Police Department.
The family, who attended a mass intention for Valenti Wednesday at Holy Spirit Church in San Jose, said they’re not sure police did enough in the days following the report of her disappearance.
The 33-year-old, who was the CEO of Utah-based Tinker Ventures, LLC, was last seen Oct. 7. Her body was discovered Oct. 12 “inside a vehicle parked on the street” in San Jose, according to a police statement.
Valenti’s father, Joseph, said he was grateful for the compassion police showed. However, he said they didn’t do enough to find her.
Joseph Valenti lives with his wife in Rochester, New York, and said they were out to dinner celebrating their anniversary when Erin Valenti called Oct. 7. At first they thought she was calling to congratulate them, but they soon realized something wasn’t right. Joseph Valenti said his daughter sounded confused and couldn’t find her rental car.
The call came hours before she disappeared.
“My daughter was on the phone obviously distressed,” he said.
After Erin Valenti spent several hours on the phone with her mother, who is a nurse and her brother, who is a doctor, Joseph Valenti said they contacted the San Jose Police Department for help.
“It was actually a three-way conversation where a welfare check officer engaged on the phone call to understand that she was not of right mind,” Joseph Valenti said.
He said authorities didn’t do enough to locate her despite speaking with her and determining she didn’t sound coherent. He said police were slow in filing a missing person report and pursuing search efforts.
Joseph Valenti said the biggest problem was getting police to pay attention to the situation.
“It has been an issue from day one,” he said. “… Monday night, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. It wasn’t until the end of the day Thursday that a missing person report was actually put out on the street.”
Erin Valenti’s body was found in the back seat of her rental car less than a mile from her last known location, according to police. A search volunteer found the 2020 Nissan Murano was parked in a residential neighborhood in the Almaden area of the city.
“Nobody knows at this point what time my daughter may have passed, but my daughter was in that car, windows closed,” Joseph Valenti said. “Had that all-points bulletin gone out Tuesday morning and not as a welfare check but a missing person, if they would’ve found her Tuesday, who knows? Maybe she would be with the living today.”
The San Jose Police Department declined multiple requests for phone or on-camera interviews, stating, “This is an ongoing investigation and we are not providing additional detail at this time.”
The department referred KSL-TV to an article published by San Jose-based newspaper The Mercury News.
“Please use the information written in the Mercury News article as well as the quotes from Chief Garcia. The information provided in this article is accurate,” media relations officer Gina Tepoorten wrote in an e-mail.
According to the article, San Jose Police Chief Eddie Garcia defended the department’s handling of the case.
“We were on this case,” he told the Mercury News. “We didn’t ignore this case. We’re going to look at everything we did and see if there are ways to improve.”
The report also states that police said detectives from the missing persons unit were assigned to the case on Oct. 9 and “they sent electronic bulletins to police agencies around the greater Bay Area, extending as far as Monterey.”
KSL-TV’s sister station NBC Bay Area reported police told them Erin Valenti sounded incoherent when she spoke with officers but indicated she was with friends. Police said detectives searched the areas where her cell phone pinged and checked with local hospitals, according to the report.
The Santa Clara County medical examiner’s report on the cause of death is still pending. On Wednesday, the office officially confirmed the body found on Saturday belonged to Erin Valenti.
Erin, was CEO and founder of Utah based Tinker Ventures, LLC.
A memorial service is planned for Erin Valenti on October 26 in the Salt Lake Area. The public is welcome. Details can be found here: https://erinvalentiwake.splashthat.com/
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