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When Valerie Hawthorne was 18, she was involved in a staged kidnapping plot hatched by her younger sister Dahlia Hawthorne and Terry Fawles to steal a $2 million diamond from the Hawthornes' father. The staged chase reached its climax on Dusky Bridge; following a secret plan she had hatched with Dahlia, she betrayed Fawles, shooting him in the shoulder. Dahlia then jumped into Eagle River; Valerie later testified to the court that she saw Fawles push Dahlia off of Dusky Bridge. This resulted in a death sentence for Fawles.
Valerie later found Dahlia and secretly looked after her. As a policewoman, Valerie was able to forge the documents necessary to create a new identity for her stepsister: that of "Melissa Foster".
- Main article: Turnabout Beginnings
Five years later, Fawles was being transferred to another prison when his transport broke down. He broke out, stole a car, and phoned Valerie to come to Dusky Bridge to explain her actions. Valerie then told Dahlia that she would finally tell the truth about the plot. In response, Dahlia met Valerie on the bridge and stabbed her in the back, killing her. When Fawles arrived, Dahlia covertly hid the body in the stolen car and then met Fawles on the bridge, pretending to be Valerie; Fawles was arrested and charged with Valerie's death.
During Fawles's trial, defense attorney Mia Fey proved her case against Prosecutor Miles Edgeworth. Although Fey managed to implicate Dahlia as the killer, Fawles did not cooperate with her in proving that Dahlia had done the deed, and committed suicide instead. Thus, Valerie's killer escaped conviction for several months.
- Her Japanese surname, "Miyanagi" (美柳), is a name that is meant to evoke a feeling of tranquility.
- "Yūki" (勇希) means "courage" in Japanese.
- Her English name "Valerie" comes from "valiant", meaning someone who shows courage or determination.
- The surname "Hawthorne" is a reference to famous author Nathaniel Hawthorne, who wrote Rappaccini's Daughter, a short story in which a man falls in love with a woman who has a strong poison coursing through her veins and can kill anything with a simple touch.
- Her French surname "Plantule" means "seedling".
- Hsu, Janet (2014-10-31). Ace Attorney Trilogy - Surprising Tidbits You Never Knew! Capcom Unity. Retrieved on 2014-11-02.