(Joseph Serna) The woman accused of being a high-priced escort who administered a lethal dose of heroin to a former tech executive on his yacht in Santa Cruz will not be charged with murder in the case, but still faces manslaughter, prostitution and drug counts, prosecutors said Wednesday.
Alix Catherine Tichelman, 26, of Folsom was arrested Friday in connection with the overdose death of 51-year-old Forrest Hayes, who worked for Google, Sun Microsystems and Apple.
Tichelman had been booked on suspicion of murder, but on Wednesday, Santa Cruz County prosecutors charged her with eight counts, including manslaughter, prostitution, destroying evidence and several related to administering and possessing heroin.
Tichelman’s arraignment was postponed until July 16, but she remained in custody in lieu of $1.5-million bail.
Prosecutors said the charges could still change as the investigation continues.
Police allege Hayes was a client of Tichelman, who met him one night in November on his yacht in a local harbor. Security video from the yacht purportedly shows Tichelman preparing a dose of heroin and injecting Hayes with it. He is then seen having an adverse reaction to the dose, collapsing and becoming unconscious.
Rather than trying to help or calling 911, police say, Tichelman packed up the drugs and needles and at one point stepped over the body to finish a glass of wine before leaving.
“Finally, she leaves the boat and reaches back in to lower the blind and conceal the victim’s body from outside view,” police said in a statement.
The Santa Cruz County Sheriff-Coroner said Hayes died on Nov. 23, but police said Tichelman was only recently arrested because she had indicated on her Facebook account that she planned to leave the state soon.
Police identified her as a suspect after learning that she and Hayes allegedly had a relationship that began with the help of Seeking Arrangements, a website that caters to affluent clients seeking “sugar babies.”
Listed perks for the “sugar babies” include “unpaid bills no longer have to be a concern,” and “indulge in shopping sprees, expensive dinners, and exotic travels.” The wealthy clientele who use the site are promised “upfront and honest arrangements with someone who will cater to your needs.”
Tichelman boasted of having more than 200 clients during interviews, police said.
Police are also looking into a death out of state, where officials say the victim died under similar circumstances.