Tiffany Heaven Daniels was born on the 11th of March 1988 in Dallas, Texas. She was the daughter of Cindy and Rodney Daniels and had 2 sisters. The family then moved to Pensacola, Florida, where Tiffany grew up.
Tiffany was described as being “free-spirited”, and would often lift the spirits of people around her by just being herself. Tiffany enjoyed blues and swing dance parties, hiking, and biking.
After graduating from Pensacola State College, Tiffany got a job at the department of theatre at Pensacola State College where she would paint sets. She was known by family and friends as a very skilled painter.
On August 11th, Tiffany had breakfast with her boyfriend, who was leaving that day to go to Austin, Texas, where he was going to study robotics. He had asked if Tiffany wanted to move with him, but she wasn’t ready to leave Pensacola yet. Although Tiffany was upset about her boyfriend moving away, friends say she was excited about visiting him in a couple of weeks.
At around 5am on the morning of the 12th of August, Gary said that he heard the door to the house open and close a few times. He thought it might be Tiffany, but when he looked out of his window, he couldn’t see anyone. At 7am, when Gary got up and left to go to work, Tiffany and her car weren’t there.
On August the 12th, Tiffany left work at 4:43pm. Her boss said that Tiffany asked to leave early that day, and told them that she wouldn’t be coming in for a few days because she had to “take care of some things.” This was the last time she was seen.
Tiffany lived with a roommate, Gary Nichols, and when she hadn’t returned home by 10pm that evening, Gary became worried. Gary called his daughter, but she said that Tiffany probably just wanted to hang out with some friends and that she would be back tomorrow. Gary agreed and went to bed.
When Tiffany still hadn’t returned home by the end of the week, Gary’s daughter contacted Tiffany’s parents. Tiffany’s parents immediately contacted the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office, but they seemed “dismissive” of the case, and transferred it to the Pensacola Police Department.
Detective Daniel Harnett started by searching Tiffany’s house. He found no signs of foul play.
Detective Harnett then reached out to Tiffany’s boyfriend, who was very cooperative with police in handing over fingerprints, DNA, and his phone records. His phone records show that he was in Austin all weekend, which suggests that he had no involvement in Tiffany’s disappearance.
The angle that Tiffany was depressed about her boyfriend moving away was also explored, but her sisters and family say that whilst she was upset about him moving, she was also very excited to go and visit him and was even planning a dance that was happening in two weeks. Tiffany’s family and friends do not believe that Tiffany took her own life.
Detective Harnett did however find that at some point after leaving work on the 12th August, Tiffany did briefly return home. Gary was home at the time, however, he was on the phone with his girlfriend, so he does not remember Tiffany being there.
Gary has been ruled out as being part of any wrongdoing that led to Tiffany’s disappearance.
The week after Tiffany had been reported missing, a family friend recognised Tiffany’s car in a parking lot at Park West in Pensacola Beach, near Fort Pickens. Tiffany would often go hiking in the nearby dunes of the Gulf Islands National Seashore.
In her car, detectives found Tiffany’s bike, mobile phone, purse and wallet, some clothes, paintings, a jug of water and a jar of peanut butter. They also found two fingerprints, one on the door handle and one on the steering wheel, that didn’t match Tiffany or any of the investigators working the case.
Investigators found sand on Tiffany’s bike wheels, but no sand on the floorboards of the car. This suggests that if Tiffany had gone for a cycle along the beach, she hadn’t gone back inside her car afterwards. This brought the possibility of Tiffany accidentally drowning at the beach.
However, Detective Harnett said that no bodies had washed up on the shore.
It was also possible that Tiffany had met with foul play on the land, but after a thorough search of the Santa Rosa Island with the police, U.S. National Park Service and the volunteer organisation KlaasKids, no trace or items belonging to Tiffany was ever found.
After reviewing security footage of Bob Sikes Bridge, the only connection to the island from Pensacola, they found that Tiffany’s car crossed the bridge at 7:51pm on the 12th of August. However, it is not determined if Tiffany was driving the car when crossing the bridge.
Tiffany’s friends and family set up a Facebook page for people to send tips, and to spread the word about Tiffany being missing.
One tip came from a convenience store clerk who said he saw her just a few days after she went missing. This tip seemed credible at first, as the clerk described Tiffany’s foot tattoos, but the security footage from the store failed to corroborate his account.
Another tip came from a woman who worked in a restaurant in Metairie, Louisiana, outside of New Orleans. She said that not long after Tiffany had gone missing, a woman matching Tiffany’s description had come into the restaurant with two other women. One woman was roughly the same age as Tiffany, and the other one was older, possibly Latino, and more nicely dressed.
The younger women were both wearing long-sleeved jumpers, which was odd for the hot summer weather, and would often pull the cuffs of their sleeves over their hands and never looked the waitress in the eye. The older woman seemed to be doing most of the talking for the group, and when the waitress pointed out that one of them looked like the girl who had disappeared from Florida, the group got up and left.
Tiffany’s family believe that this sighting was truly Tiffany. They say that Tiffany would frequently pull the cuff of her sleeves over her hand if she was cold.
Secondly, the waitress said that the woman who resembled Tiffany asked if one of the soups on the menu used chicken or fish broth. Cindy, Tiffany’s mum, said that because Tiffany was a pescetarian she could taste when a restaurant had substituted chicken broth for fish broth because Tiffany tried to avoid eating any chicken-based foods.
The restaurant’s security system had already taped over the security footage from the day the waitress suspected she had seen Tiffany, so police are unable to verify the waitress’s story.
Tiffany’s parents believe that she has become a victim of human trafficking. They believe that Tiffany would have fallen for any ruse they told her. Interstate 10, which passes through Pensacola and New Orleans, has been described as one of the major trafficking routes in the USA.
Detective Harnett says that while there is no evidence to support the human trafficking theory, that the police won’t rule anything out.
As of 2021, Tiffany is still considered a missing person. If you, or someone you know, has any information regarding Tiffany’s case, please contact the Pensacola Police Department on 850-435-1900.
Unsolved, Missing, Missing Person, Florida, True Crime, USA