Prostitute charged with manslaughter of Google executive

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Prostitute charged with manslaughter of Google executive
Alix Tichelman, second from left, stands next to her public defender Athena Reis as she is arraigned in Santa Cruz County Superior Court on Wednesday, July 16, 2014, in Santa Cruz, Calif. Tichelman, faces manslaughter charges in the death last November of Forrest Hayes, a Google executive after she walked away from him when he overdosed on heroin on his yacht. (AP Photo/Santa Cruz Sentinel, Shmuel Thaler, Pool)
Alix Tichelman looks back toward her family after her arraignment in Santa Cruz County Superior Court on Wednesday, July 16, 2014, in Santa Cruz, Calif. Tichelman, faces manslaughter charges in the death last November of Forrest Hayes, a Google executive after she walked away from him when he overdosed on heroin on his yacht. (AP Photo/Santa Cruz Sentinel, Shmuel Thaler, Pool)
This image provided by the Santa Cruz Police Department shows Alix Catherine Tichelman after she was booked into county jail in Santa Cruz, Calif., on Friday, July 4, 2014. Tichelman was arrested on manslaughter and heroin charges after injecting heroin into a Google executive on his yacht in Santa Cruz and leaving him to die when he overdosed, according to police and a newspaper. (AP Photo/Santa Cruz Police)
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This image provided by the Santa Cruz Police Department shows Alix Catherine Tichelman after she was booked into county jail in Santa Cruz, Calif., on Friday, July 4, 2014. Tichelman was arrested on manslaughter and heroin charges after injecting heroin into a Google executive on his yacht in Santa Cruz and leaving him to die when he overdosed, according to police and a newspaper. (AP Photo/Santa Cruz Police)
The house where bar owner Dean Riopelle overdosed Sept. 17, 2013, while at home with his girlfriend, Alix Tichelman, stands Thursday, July 10, 2014, in Milton, Ga. Two months before police say Tichelman, a high-priced prostitute, calmly left a Google executive dying from a heroin overdose on his yacht, the woman panicked on the phone with a 911 dispatcher as her boyfriend lay on the floor of their home in the throes of a fatal overdose. Police said Thursday they are re-examining the death if Riopelle, 53, the owner of a popular Atlanta music venue. Riopelle had been dating Tichelman, who is now charged with manslaughter in the November death of Google executive Forrest Hayes. She was never charged in Riopelle's death. (AP Photo/Ron Harris)
A car sits in the driveway of the Folsom, Calif., house that is listed as the residence of Bart Tichelman, father of Alix Tichelman, who has been charged in the death of Google Inc., executive Forrest Hayes, Thursday, July 10, 2014. Alix Tichelman, 26, was arraigned in Santa Cruz County Superior Court, Wednesday, for the November 2013 death of Hayes, 51. No one answered the door at the two-story home where a neighbor said Tichelman occasionally frequented. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
This Thursday, July 10, 2014 photo shows a message taped to the door of the Folsom, Calif., home that is listed as the residence of Bart Tichelman, father of Alix Tichelman, who is a suspect in the death of Forrest Hayes. It reads, "Please no visitors or media or other contact with the residents, respect our privacy and our property." Alix Tichelman, 26, was arraigned in Santa Cruz County Superior Court, Wednesday, for the November 2013 death of Hayes, 51, an executive with Google Inc., who was found dead on his boat in Santa Cruz harbor. A neighbor said Tichelman occasionally frequented the house, as recently as about two weeks ago. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
This photo provided Thursday, July 10, 2014 by the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office, shows Alix Tichelman after her arrest on a battery charge, Sept. 6, 2013. Tichelman, the high-priced prostitute charged in the overdose death of a Google executive aboard a yacht in California had searched online for how to legally defend herself after giving a lethal dose of heroin, police in California said Thursday. (AP Photo/Courtesy of the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office)
This Sept. 6, 2013 photo provided by the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday, July 10, 2014 shows Alix Tichelman after her arrest on a battery charge. Tichelman, who is charged in the overdose death of a Google executive aboard a yacht in California, had searched online for how to legally defend herself after giving a lethal dose of heroin, police in California said Thursday. On Thursday, authorities in Georgia reopened another overdose case involving Tichelman. Bar owner Dean Riopelle, 53, died of a heroin overdose in September 2013 in Milton, Ga. about two months before Google executive Forrest Hayes died on his yacht. Both had been seeing Tichelman, authorities said. (AP Photo/Fulton County Sheriff’s Office)
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SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (AP) -- A Silicon Valley success story turned sordid this week with the arrest of an upscale prostitute who allegedly left a Google executive dying on his yacht after shooting him up with a deadly hit of heroin.

Forrest Hayes, 51, was found dead by the captain of his 50-foot yacht Escape last November. At the time, a simple obituary described him as a beloved husband and father of five who enjoyed spending time with his family and on his boat.

Did A Prostitute Kill Google Exec With Heroin Overdose?

On Wednesday, that got a lot more complicated as Alix Tichelman, 26, of Folsom, stood handcuffed and mumbling in red jail scrubs facing manslaughter charges for her role in Hayes' death, as well as drug and prostitution charges. She is being held on $1.5 million bail.

Surveillance footage from the yacht shows everything, police said, from when she came aboard until after Hayes collapsed. That's when Tichelman picked up her clothes, the heroin and needles, casually stepping over Hayes as he lay dying. She swallowed the last of a glass of wine, lowered a blind and walked back on the dock to shore, police said.

Santa Cruz Deputy Police Chief Steve Clark told The Associated Press on Wednesday that Hayes had hired Tichelman before, and that their Nov. 23 encounter "was a mutually consensual encounter including the introduction of the heroin."

Clark said it appears this might not have been the first time she left someone in trouble without calling 911 or trying to help. Without elaborating, he said his agency is cooperating with police in a different state on a similar case.

"There's a pattern of behavior here where she doesn't seek help when someone is in trouble," he said.

News vans gathered outside Hayes hilltop estate overlooking the glittering Monterey Bay on Tuesday. The five-bedroom home is on the market for $4.2 million. The yacht has been sailed out of the harbor to the Bay Area. Hayes' widow has not spoken publicly and a blog created in his memory was deleted Tuesday. On the website, friends and co-workers were seemingly unaware of how he died. They fondly described their time together, Christmas parties on his boat, engineering teams at Sun Microsystems, traveling to China for Apple and most recently at Google, where they said he was involved in the Glass eyewear projects.

"He had life wired, he really liked his job, was spending a lot more time with his family, cruising around in his boat. I am really grateful that Forrest's last moments were happy ones," wrote a friend in December.

Clark said it's not clear if Hayes was a frequent drug user, and that in the video, it appears he needed Tichelman to help him shoot up. Clark described Tichelman as a high-end prostitute, who lived three hours away and charged $1,000.

He said she had other clients from Silicon Valley, home to about 50 billionaires and tens of thousands of millionaires, where the case was making waves Wednesday.

"There's no question that Silicon Valley feels different than it felt 28 years ago when I moved here," said Russell Hancock, president of Joint Venture Silicon Valley, an organization focused on the local economy and quality of life. "Something has happened. We used to be a Valley full of techies living middle class lives, and now we're a Valley of the uber-rich carrying toy poodles around with them."

Tichelman's father has ties to the tech industry. Folsom software firm SynapSense announced hiring her father, Bart Tichelman in 2012. Neither the firm nor her father responded to immediate requests for comment.

Santa Cruz Superior Court Judge Timothy Volkmann approved a request Wednesday from Tichelman's court appointed attorney, Diana August, to continue the arraignment until July 16. August did not immediately return a call seeking comment. Assistant District Attorney Rafael Vazquez said authorities are still investigating and may file more serious charges.

Tichelman was arrested on July 4 after police said a detective lured her back to the Santa Cruz area by posing as a potential client at an upscale resort. Clark said they didn't just arrest her because they didn't know exactly where she lived, and they were concerned she would flee.

Police said Tichelman boasted she had more than 200 clients and met them through the website, SeekingArrangement.com, which purports to connect wealthy men and women with attractive companions. Her clients included other Silicon Valley executives, Clark said.

Santa Clara University Finance professor Robert Hendershott said financial windfalls like those seen in the Silicon Valley often bring problems as people have trouble managing their newfound wealth. But he said there's no obvious hedonistic culture in the Silicon Valley.

"There's no Great Gatsby type of parties famous in the Silicon Valley," he said.

Police: Prostitute Accused in Overdose Death
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