Alix Catherine Tichelman, the prostitute who stands accused of leaving Google executive Forrest Timothy Hayes to die on his fifty foot yacht, was a popular escort in the tech scene.
Police said she had a number of clients in Silicon Valley, claiming more than 200 all together. She also has ties to the technology industry through her family. In 2012, her father, Bart Tichelman, joined software firm SynapSense.
According to officials, Tichelmen provided Hayes with heroin and shot it into him. When he began overdosing, she left him to die rather than seek help. Video of his boat revealed that before she left, she enjoyed a glass of wine while Hayes lay unconscious. The next morning, Hayes was found dead by the captain of this yacht.
Police lured Tichelman to a high end hotel, requesting her escort services, and arrested her on the spot. She faces charges for second degree murder, destruction of evidence, and providing narcotics. Santa Cruz Deputy Police Chief Steve Clark told the Santa Cruz Sentinel that while the overdose may have been accidental, her evidence of guilt as he lay dying pushed the charges towards second degree murder instead of involuntary manslaughter.
Tichelman and Hayes met on SeekingArrangement.com, a website for "sugar daddies" and "sugar babies," according to police. They appeared to know one another and had met several times. While she made note of a boyfriend on her Facebook page, she didn't specifically name Hayes.
Hayes was remembered as a traditional family man and a force in the technology sector. He worked in the Michigan automotive industry, then moved to Santa Cruz, working for Sun Microsystems, Apple and most recently Google. He worked on developing Google Glass most recently. He left behind a wife of 17 years and five children.
Tichelman remains in Santa Cruz County jail on $1.5 million bail. She is also being investigated for a 2013 heroin-related death of a bar owner she was dating in Georgia. Dean Riopelle died two months before Hayes, also of an overdose. In that instance, Tichelman called 911 to report the overdose. Santa Cruz police also noted they were cooperating with police in a different state on a similar case.
It is unclear if they were referring to the Georgia case, or a third case all together. Police Chief Clark said, "There's a pattern of behavior here where she doesn't seek help when someone is in trouble."