The parents of a tech CEO who was found dead say she suffered a ‘manic episode’ and told them ‘it’s all a game, we’re in the matrix’ in a phone call before she disappeared.
Erin Valenti, 33, was discovered dead in the back seat of her rental car on a residential street in San Jose’s quiet Almaden neighborhood on Saturday, five days after she was first reported missing.
Valenti, the chief executive of Salt Lake City-based app developer Tinker Ventures was last heard from on October 7, when she missed her flight from San Jose back home to Utah.
Nothing seemed out of the ordinary until 3:30pm on Monday after she met with a former colleague on Sand Hill Road, before calling her parents to say she couldn’t find her rental car.
Once she located the grey Nissan Murano, she stayed on the phone with her mother and father where Valenti’s conversation began veering from the strange to the down-right bizarre.
Her father, Joseph Valenti, says his daughter was talking ‘a mile a minute’ and wasn’t making any sense.
Though the bereaved father insists his daughter has no history of mental illness, Joseph says he wasn’t the only member of the family to receive a ‘confusing and disjointed’ call in the hours leading up to her disappearance.
Valenti also called her mother on and off for several hours across Monday afternoon and through the evening.
‘Her thoughts were disconnected…. She’d say I’m coming home for Thanksgiving, then in the next she was saying she’s in the Matrix,’ Whitey Valenti told Mercury News.
Valenti is said to have told her mother, ‘It’s all a game, it’s a thought experiment: we’re in the Matrix.’
The 33-year-old, who would be turning 34 on Wednesday, missed her flight later that evening and failed to show at a ceremony in Utah on Tuesday, where she was due to receive a ‘women in tech’ award.
Concerned for her well-being, Valenti’s husband Harrison Weinstein, a psychologist, attempted to track her location through a ‘find my phone app’ but was unsuccessful.
During her final phone calls with loved ones on Monday, Valenti mention she was low on gas, and, with a request from her family, a San Jose police officer contacted Valenti by phone the same night.
But the police office also said she ‘wasn’t making any sense’ on the phone, according to Weinstein.
The officer drove around San Jose trying to find her but found no trace of Valenti.
Frustrated with the police department’s efforts, Weinstein set up a ‘Help Find Erin Valenti’ Facebook page, inspiring more than 1,500 Bay Area locals into searching for her.
It was one of the volunteers who discovered Valenti’s body in the back-seat on the 6500 block of Bose Lane — a half-mile from her last known location – on Saturday.