A Georgia woman described by police as a high-priced prostitute was arrested for her alleged role in the overdose of Google executive Forrest Timothy Hayes, who reportedly died after the woman gave him heroin and left him to die.
Santa Cruz, CA, police say Alix Catherine Tichelman, 26, of Atlanta, was arrested July 4 on suspicion of second-degree murder, destruction of evidence and transporting and providing narcotics.
The Santa Cruz Sentinel reports that Tichelman and Hayes, 51, met through the online site Seeking Arrangement. The couple met several times before his death following a November rendezvous on Hayes’ yacht, the Escape, authorities said.
The Seeking Arrangement website touts itself as a dating website where successful people can form mutually beneficial relationships. It received international press attention in recent months after Huffington Post UK published a story that one million students had signed up for the site as “sugar babies” to earn college tuition.
Encounter on Yacht Leads to Drug Overdose
Authorities say Tichelman gave Hayes heroin and he overdosed, but she reportedly did nothing to help him. Instead, they say, she drank a glass of wine, collected evidence, and left the boat. Hayes was found dead the next morning, Nov. 23, by the boat's captain.
"She was so callous, in gathering her things she was literally stepping over the body, and at one point stepped over the body to grab a glass of wine. In the process of this, all the while, the victim’s dying at her feet. She showed no regard for the victim," Steve Clark with the Santa Cruz Police Department told KXTV.
During interviews with investigators, Tichelman boasted about having more than 200 client relationships, the TV station reports.
Detectives recovered text messages and emails exchanged by Tichelman and the victim and found out that she had met with him the evening of his death. The woman supplied heroin to Hayes and injected him with it during her visit, triggering the overdose that killed him, Santa Cruz CA Patch reports.
From surveillance video taken on the victim's boat, he is seen suffering medical problems and lapsing into unconsciousness in the presence of Tichleman, who failed to assist him or call 911 for help, Clark said.
The suspect instead is seen on the video gathering up the heroin, needles and her other belongings while stepping over the man's body several times. At one point, she stepped over the body to polish off a glass of wine, police said.
She then drew a window blind to shield Hayes' body from view outside the boat.
Police Set Up Sting for Suspect
Police later uncovered another death investigation in a different state involving Tichelman that involved similar circumstances and are continuing to look into that case, Clark said.
Santa Cruz detectives tracked Tichleman's activities online during the investigation. Fearing that she might flee the area if she learned of their probe, the Bay City News reports police lured Tichelman back to Santa Cruz by posing as a client offering more than $1,000 for sex at an upscale location.
She arrived at the arranged place and time on the Fourth of July and was arrested, Clark said.
She had most recently been living with her parents in Folsom, CA.
Google X Executive Started in Michigan Auto Industry
Hayes had worked at tech companies including Sun Microsystems, Apple and finally Google, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. He was born in Dearborn, Mich., and worked in the auto industry early in his career before moving to Santa Cruz, Dearborn Patch reports.
At the time of his death, he was working for Google’s X division on the semi-secret “moonshot” projects, Forbes reports. On an online memorial page, which was removed after Tichelman’s arrest Friday, coworkers described Hayes as “totally selfless” and the kind of leader who could “put himself in others’ shoes,” Forbes said.
“He was a relationship person and valued that far more than any legal or business transaction,” one coworker wrote. “He was a warm guy with a big heart and found immense joy in making others happy.”
“You showed us how to be better engineers and a better team. It is wonderful to reflect on all the advice and direction you shared in our short time on Glass,” a Google X engineer wrote, again according to the Forbes report. “Your impact and focus was tremendous, but your touch for inspiring those around you is what made you an incredible leader.”
Hayes’ family wrote that he “passed away unexpectedly” in an obituary published in the Santa Cruz Sentinel.
“More than anything else he enjoyed spending time with his family at home and on his boat," according to the obituary. "His brilliant mind, contagious smile and warm embrace will be missed and cherished in memories by his friends and family."
He was married for 17 years and had five children.