Unsolved Mysteries season 3, episode 1 recap – “Mystery at Mile Marker 45”

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: October 18, 2022 (Last updated: January 27, 2024)
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Unsolved Mysteries season 3, episode 1 recap - "Mystery at Mile Marker 45"


Suicide or murder? The third season of Unsolved Mysteries kicks off with a compelling, if slanted, tragedy.

This recap of Unsolved Mysteries season 3, episode 1, “Mystery at Mile Marker 45”, contains spoilers.

The first episode of the third season of Unsolved Mysteries digs into the case of Tiffany Valiante and asks an essential question – why would a seemingly happy teenage girl with a promising athletic future ahead of her throw herself under a train?

Unsolved Mysteries season 3, episode 1 recap

In 2015 Tiffany was struck by the New Jersey Transit train 4693, and mere days later the incident was officially ruled a suicide. The local authorities weren’t trained or equipped for a proper investigation. The scene of the incident, out by the titular Mile Marker 45, was never considered the scene of a crime. To this day, Valiante’s parents are adamant that the ruling of suicide was made to avoid accusations of negligence on the part of New Jersey Transit.

So, do Tiffany’s parents have a point? This episode proceeds as if they do, and ropes in various individuals, both relatives and relevant professionals, who agree that the circumstances surrounding Tiffany’s death were suspicious at best and suggestive of homicide at worst. These 50 minutes don’t really make a case for a potential suspect or motive, though, instead laying out the essential information that suggests, at the very least, that Tiffany didn’t commit suicide.

“Mystery at Mile Marker 45” skims over or outright omits some details that have been reported elsewhere, especially regarding the tumultuous home and social circumstances that had immediately preceded Tiffany’s death – clashing with her mother, Dianne, family counselling, rebellious behaviour, drug use, theft, and rumours of self-harm. Her being gay is lightly brushed over in the context of her just having mutually ended a previous relationship and gotten with a new partner.

While a lot of these details somewhat support the idea that Tiffany might have committed suicide, the details presented in the episode create a compelling case that the circumstances of her death were at the very least mishandled. She had a volleyball scholarship, had publicly stated she was content with her life and didn’t seem, at least not around her parents, to be struggling or in a state of depression.

On the night she died, Tiffany was accused of using a friend’s debit card without her permission, which she later confessed to. She walked away from the family home, and the last image seen of her was a snapshot taken from her dad’s deer camera. Her phone was later found abandoned close to the house, which was deeply uncharacteristic. A few hours earlier, four miles from home, she was hit by a train with such force that it tore her limbs from her body.

New Jersey Transit said, in testimony from the driver and an engineer, that Tiffany jumped in front of the train, but travelling at that speed, her arms and legs scattering in all directions could have created that effect. She also died in just her underwear. Her headband and shoes were discovered later by Dianne, in a neat pile as if they had been removed intentionally. There was no indication that Tiffany had walked for miles across rough terrain barefoot. So, what happened?

We simply don’t know – these are unsolved mysteries, after all. Rumours around town began to suggest murder, but nobody interviewed seemed to have any information. Tiffany’s death remains a suicide, but her family hope that her story being featured on this series will do some good. We can only hope.

You can stream Unsolved Mysteries season 3, episode 1, “Mystery at Mile Marker 45” exclusively on Netflix.

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