Remembering Tiffany Thiele: She said she was raped on Facebook, friends say her body was found hours later
A tragic Facebook post by Tiffany Thiele went viral on Sept. 21.
“In the summer of 2018 I was raped …” the post states. “I remember feeling very dizzy after 1 drink. My memory is fragmented from that point.”
Her body was found hours later in Truckee, according to Tiffany Thiele’s close friend, Laura Scattergood.
Thiele’s post tells readers the grueling details of her alleged rape, attempts to report the alleged crime, and also being denied her case by the Placer County District Attorney’s Office due to “insufficient evidence.”
The post ended with these words, “Life has been such a beautiful journey, and I am so sorry to those that I have left behind. Things haven’t been the same for me for the past 3 years …
“I don’t want to be strong anymore,” the post continues. “I’m tired of battling and being blamed. I just want to go somewhere that I can find peace again.”
Nancy Thiele, Tiffany Thiele’s mother, went to Facebook to write to those following her daughter’s story.
“Thank you all for the kind message, texts, and posts expressing love and personal stories similar to ours. Tiffany and I had a conversation a few weeks ago asking me if I knew that rape victims had to pay for their own medical exam… As we have been contemplating how to honor our daughter and keep her memory alive, this is a cause that we would like to support,” wrote Nancy Thiele, adding a link to her post to redirect people to the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation.
“If there are people who want to help, we ask that you donate to the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation in her name. Victims are forever changed and will need therapy for life. Struggling to pay co-pays and needing time off from work is another area we want to try to help victims with,” wrote Nancy Thiele.
On Thursday, Sept. 23, Thiele’s stepfather Dave Fish also wrote on Facebook.
“We are overwhelmed by the outpouring of support for our beloved Tiffany. She was an incredibly creative, talented, gracious and loving person. She always sought to be authentic and giving in her relationships as well as chasing the beautiful challenge that is in our mountains. While still grieving and dealing with this unfathomable loss, we wish to express to everyone that sexual assault steals a great many things from its victims, and that survivors of sexual assault should always be encouraged to share their truth in an effort to find healing as well as justice. If you know of a loved one, a friend or a co-worker who needs help, please reach out to them and support them in any way you can.”
The Placer County District Attorney’s Office issued a statement on Facebook the same day.
“We are aware of the Facebook post regarding the tragic death of one of our community members. All of us at the Placer County District Attorney’s Office are saddened to hear of the loss and our thoughts are with her family and friends. We take all reports of victimization seriously, and in every case we thoroughly and impartially consider both the facts and the law prior to making a charging decision. In this process, we must evaluate every case objectively to determine whether the submitted reports establish that each element of the alleged crime can be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. Our office received a crime report from the Placer County Sheriff’s Office in August of 2018. After a thorough review of all the facts contained in the report, charges were declined. The Placer County District Attorney’s Office maintains a robust Victim Services Unit that offers services and resources to victims of crime, regardless of whether criminal charges are filed.”
‘SHE WAS PRETTY AMAZING’
Scattergood, a friend of Tiffany Thiele, said she’d lost touch with her friend in the past few years.
“Since the rape happened, she cut off a lot of people, but she’s always been an important figure in my life,” said Scattergood. “On Sept. 9, 2019, she reached out, out of the blue and asked me for some contact info for somebody …”
Scattergood said that when she asked Thiele about why she wanted this information, she began to open up about the alleged assault.
Scattergood went on to say that Thiele had done extensive research on sexual assault, and believes that’s what led her to “feel helpless in this whole process.”
Scattergood asked if Thiele had gotten a rape kit done afterward. She hadn’t.
Scattergood said that part of the reason why her friend had been somewhat secretive also had to do with fear of the news falling back negatively on her, or that it might have caused her to lose her teaching job.
“She was pretty amazing,” said Scattergood. “She worked really hard to be self sufficient… She was a Millennium Scholarship recipient and went straight to UNR, then became a teacher and never had any money being a school teacher, and never had opportunities to travel until later in life. Then that became a big passion for her.
“She wasn’t a drug user, she wasn’t a drinker, she’s been a fifth grade school teacher for the past 17 years,” Scattergood added. “She worked really hard to get where she was at — put herself through college, put herself through grad school. But that wasn’t enough. You can’t run away from stuff like that.”
“Tiffany Thiele was an amazing person — sweet, strong, talented and a fantastic teacher. She was eager to learn new things and always made me smile. I’m glad we could share some climbs together,” said former climbing partner Monique LeMay.
High school classmate and a former roommate of Thiele, Stephanie DioDato said, “I first met her on the McQueen High School track and field team. She was one of the fastest distance runners I always tried to keep up with.
“When we lived together she was always running and I admired her dedication to health and fitness… She was vibrant, always had a smile on her face and stood up for the things she cared about.”
Elizabeth White is a staff writer for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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