Suspects Questioned In Student Death The Body Of Rachel Siani, Who Also Danced At A Club, Was Found Saturday Under A Burlington Twp. Bridge.

Posted: April 05, 2000

BRISTOL TOWNSHIP — Several suspects have been questioned in the death of Rachel Siani, the 21-year-old Bensalem college student and exotic dancer whose body was found Saturday in a grassy area of Burlington Township beneath the turnpike bridge linking Pennsylvania and New Jersey, investigators said yesterday.

Four New Jersey state police investigators were seen outside Diva's International Gentlemen's Club, on Route 13 in Bristol Township, yesterday. That's where Siani, a full-time student at Bucks County Community College, performed under the name "Roxanne" three to five nights a week to pay for her tuition and books.

Her car, an older-model white Lincoln, had been in the club's parking lot with a flat tire since Tuesday, March 28, the last night she worked. It was impounded over the weekend by investigators.

Club co-owner Joe Simone has said Siani failed to show up for work Thursday.

Bensalem police said yesterday that they received no missing-person reports on Siani.

An autopsy showed that her death was caused by a 200-foot fall from the bridge, and investigators have said they consider the case a homicide.

One investigator advanced the theory that someone may have deliberately flattened a tire on Siani's car, then offered her a ride and that she may have refused this person's sexual advances and that this person may have killed her.

Her former coworkers declined to discuss the case with a reporter yesterday but were questioned by investigators before the night's patrons began to arrive. Also questioned have been her friends, family members, and the unidentified suspects.

Siani's father, Richard, said yesterday that he had known that his daughter, who lived at home, was working as an exotic dancer.

"It's not something I would have chosen for her, but it was something she was doing temporarily to pay her way through school," he said.

William Schurmann, dean of students at Bucks County Community, described Siani as "an excellent student well on her way to graduation."

Richard Siani said his daughter wanted to be a psychologist and work with homeless people.

"We had great hopes for her," he said. "And she seemed headed in the right direction, in all areas of her life. We never dreamed anything like this would happen. We just hoped she would graduate from college and be somebody."

A liberal-arts major with "a solid B average," Rachel Siani was close to completing her associate's degree and was to graduate next semester, her father said.

The raven-haired young woman had danced for a year and a half at Diva's, where, Simone said, she was well-liked.

Schurmann called Richard Siani Monday night to express his sympathy, and the grieving father told the dean "what a positive role" the college played in his daughter's life.

"My heart aches for the family," said Schurmann, who described Rachel Siani as "a dedicated, conscientious student" who had completed 57 credits toward the 60 needed for an associate's degree. "She was very conscientious in class and academic-minded," he said.

He added that tuition at Bucks, computed at $71 per academic credit, amounts to about $1,000 a semester for a full-time student. That does not include books, transportation and other costs, he said.

Richard Siani said police had not told the family much.

"She's our daughter, and we love her," he said. "We don't know if somebody took her life or what happened. We need to know. We really do."

He said the family had planned a Funeral Mass for his daughter tomorrow but had to postpone it upon learning yesterday morning that the New Jersey state police were not ready to release the body.

"They said they don't want to release it only to find that it may be needed in the future and then it might have to be exhumed," said Joseph Sannutti, the funeral director.

Besides questioning several suspects, investigators continued yesterday to question friends and coworkers of the victim and searched her room at the family's home for clues.

Simone, meanwhile, said he hoped that there would be a quick resolution to the case.

"It's an awful shame," the club owner said. "We've never had anything like this happen to one of our girls before, and I hope never again."

Besides her father, Rachel Siani is survived by her stepmother, Janet Titlow Siani; brothers, Anthony and Willian Siani; stepbrothers, Thomas and Charles Milewski; and paternal grandparents, Richard and Mai Siani.

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