Pathologist rips apart state’s suicide ruling in N.J. teen’s demise
The professional medical examiner’s investigation into the 2015 demise of a Mays Landing teenager was so lacking there is just not even scientific proof to show the entire body recovered was hers, according to new paperwork filed in an ongoing court docket battle over the dealing with of the situation.
Tiffany Valiante, 18, died soon after becoming struck by an NJ Transit train, and investigators swiftly identified she had fully commited suicide. But Valiante’s spouse and children alleges the proof will not increase up, and final year filed a lawsuit trying to get to overturn the lead to of demise ruling and reopen the probe.
In the most up-to-date court docket filing in the situation, Donald Jason, a pathologist and former Atlantic County professional medical examiner, scalded the Southern Regional Medical Examiner’s Business, arguing investigators concluded Valiante had fully commited suicide before they had even started their operate.
Jason, who was employed by the spouse and children by way of attorney Paul D’Amato, reported the autopsy report was devoid of scientific advantage.
“This seemingly unnatural demise was dealt with with the assumption that the demise was not thanks to a criminal offense,” Jason wrote. “This bias negatively impacted the way in which the scene was processed by all users of the group, equally responding law enforcement and professional medical examiner’s team.”
Valiante’s situation was featured in a December investigation into the state professional medical examiner procedure that revealed how many years of dysfunction and neglect had turned a critical function of government — pinpointing how and why another person died — into a countrywide shame. In response, Gov. Phil Murphy and lawmakers are preparing to overhaul the entire procedure.
The State Medical Examiner, Andrew Falzon, agreed to critique Valiante’s situation in Oct soon after inquiries by NJ Progress Media. A spokesman for the Business of the State Medical Examiner reported Monday the critique was ongoing but otherwise declined comment.
When Valiante died in July 2015, her demise was swiftly ruled a suicide. Investigators reported Valiante left a graduation get together in close proximity to her house, dropped her mobile phone at the conclusion of her driveway and walked much more than 4 miles before sooner or later jumping in front of an NJ Transit train in a desolate and heavily wooded area of Galloway Township.
But the Valiante spouse and children says the situations surrounding their daughter’s demise under no circumstances extra up and have prolonged contended the investigation was incomplete.
It is entirely possible that Valiante fully commited suicide. She had threat aspects, industry experts say, like working with her sexual identity as a teenager. But the investigation left lots of unanswered queries about Tiffany’s lifetime and final times, which the spouse and children and their attorneys are making an attempt to fill in by way of litigation.
They you should not believe they should have to.
In his report, Jason notes that no scientific identification of the stays was completed. As an alternative investigators relied only on Valiante’s uncle to establish her badly broken entire body, on which “no recognition of noticeable functions was possible.”
Jason reported the investigation was most noteworthy for what was lacking: No examination on fingerprints, dental documents or DNA was conducted. No microscopic examination of organs was done, nor was any radiography of the recovered stays, which would have ruled out a gun shot wound.
“It is my feeling, in acceptable professional medical certainty, that the lead to of demise of Tiffany Valiante was undetermined,” Jason wrote. “With no lead to of demise regarded, no way of demise, purely natural or unnatural, can be identified. The story that the target jumped onto the tracks is suspect.”
Stephen Stirling could be arrived at at firstname.lastname@example.org. Stick to him on Twitter @sstirling. Obtain him on Facebook.