The top medical examiner in New Jersey has decided to uphold his office’s ruling of suicide in a 2015 death despite protests from the family.
Eighteen-year-old Tiffany Valiante, of Mays Landing, was killed by a New Jersey Transit train in July 2015 in Galloway Township. Investigators concluded that she jumped in front of the train, but her family alleges foul play.
State medical examiner Andrew Falzon agreed to reopen the case last year and reviewed new evidence including reports by the Atlantic County prosecutor’s office and a family investigator, NJ.com reported.
“My examination supports the investigation’s original conclusion that the manner of death be deemed a suicide,” Falzon wrote.
Valiante was last seen walking across the street from her Mays Landing home to a cousin’s graduation party. She was found dead about 4 miles away after being hit by the train in a heavily wooded section of the township.
A retired medical investigator said the manner of death should be changed to “undetermined,” noting that Valiante’s shoes were found about a mile from where she was hit but she had no scratches on her feet, despite the rough terrain nearby.
Family attorney Paul D’Amato has filed suit alleging that she was kidnapped and killed, saying that will allow him to subpoena witnesses in an effort to get answers.
D’Amato said the family was frustrated and angry after the medical examiner’s decision and seeking a meeting with the governor as well as considering a challenge in federal court.
“All the family is looking for is a declaration from the state of New Jersey to say their daughter didn’t commit suicide,” D’Amato said. “The next step, which is going to be the endless journey, is to find out how she was killed.”