Woman charged with manslaughter in Google exec's heroin death

SAN FRANCISCO, July 10 Thu Jul 10, 2014 5:53pm EDT

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SAN FRANCISCO, July 10 (Reuters) - An alleged prostitute suspected of killing a California technology executive by injecting him with a fatal dose of heroin aboard his yacht off the coast of Santa Cruz has been charged with manslaughter, authorities said Thursday.

Alix Catherine Tichelman, 26, was arrested last week in connection with the November 2013 death of Forrest Hayes, an executive at Google Inc and a father of five.

Tichelman, who will be arraigned on July 16, faces eight charges including transporting and possessing heroin, prostitution and destruction of evidence. Her bond was set at $1.5 million, said Rafael Vazquez, assistant district attorney for the Santa Cruz County District Attorney's Office.

Security camera footage from Hayes' yacht showed Tichelman neglecting to help Hayes, 51, after she injected him with heroin and he fell unconscious, according to the Santa Cruz Police Department.

"At one point, she steps over the body to finish a glass of wine. Finally, she leaves the boat and reaches back in to lower a blind and conceal the victim's body from outside view," police said in a statement.

Also on Thursday, police in Milton, Georgia said they were re-examining the death of Dean Riopelle, a nightclub owner who died of what the coroner at the time ruled was an accidental overdose, the Sacramento Bee reported. Tichelman told police at that time that Riopelle had injected heroin while she was in the shower, the newspaper reported.

Tichelman first became a suspect in Hayes' death after it appeared that she may have had a sex-for-money relationship with him, police said. She was arrested on the July 4 holiday after being contacted by an officer posing as a potential client, police said, and for agreeing on a price in excess of $1,000. She was detained when she arrived at an "upscale location."

Hayes and Tichelman allegedly met on the dating website SeekingArrangement.com, which calls itself "the leading network for Sugar Daddy and Sugar Baby relationships across the globe."

"We are shocked to learn of this tragedy and we would like to convey our deepest sympathies to Mr. Hayes's family," the website said in a statement Thursday.

According to spokeswoman Angela Bermudo, the site prohibits solicitations for prostitution.

"These were two adults that were involved in a consensual relationship that was ongoing," Bermudo said. "This seems to be a case of recreational drug use gone wrong." (Editing by Sharon Bernstein and Eric Walsh)

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