Alix Tichelman has been near the scene of at least two heroin overdose deaths in the past two years. Now, she will be facing consequences for one of those deaths.
Tichelman pleaded guilty on Tuesday to felony charges of involuntary manslaughter and administering drugs in connection to the death of Google executive Forrest Timothy Hayes.
He was found on his private yacht in a Santa Cruz harbor, having died of a heroin overdose on November 22, 2013.
According to authorities, Tichelman injected Hayes with the lethal dose of heroin that ended his life that night. Tichelman, a model who police say was also a high-end prostitute, had supposedly been hired by Hayes on several occasions, and they had met again that night on his yacht, the “Escape,” where they engaged in both sex and drugs together.
Tichelman was linked to the death based on surveillance footage from the yacht from which she could be identified, as well as by fingerprints on a wine glass on the boat.
And while what investigators found in that video wasn’t enough to accuse Tichelman of murder, it was more than enough to suspect her of some wrongdoing in the case.
In the video, Tichelman could be seen stepping over Hayes’ body, seemingly without concern for him. At one point, she did so to finish a glass of wine before lowering blinds, presumably to hide the body.Â
Police also note that Tichelman did not call 911 or seek any other assistance for Hayes that night. He was found the next morning by the ship’s captain.
Police eventually caught up to Tichelman by posing as a potential client who was interested in paying more than $1,000 to sleep with her. Ultimately, they managed to meet her at a hotel in Santa Cruz County, where she was arrested.
At that time, Tichelman entered a not guilty plea. Had she been convicted on all charges, it was possible that should could have spent as much as 15 years in prison.
The Hayes case also made police reexamine a previous case involving Tichelman. That case involved Georgia bar owner Dean Riopelle, who died in September 2013 of a heroin overdose while dating Tichelman.
Riopelle’s death was reported by Tichelman, who called 911 saying she had found him after his overdose. A medical examiner initially ruled that the death was accidental, but police vowed to reexamine the case after Tichelman’s arrest in the Hayes case.
“There’s a pattern of behavior here where she doesn’t seek help when someone is in trouble,” said Santa Cruz Deputy Poilce Chief Steve Clark after her arrest.
Tichelman was also loosely connected to another heroin overdose. Her former boyfriend, Warren Ullom, was convicted of voluntary manslaughter in 2010 in connection with the death of Rachel San Inocencio, who died of a heroin overdose at his apartment in 2008.
Tichelman is the daughter of Bart Tichelman, CEO of SynapSense, a firm that specializes in the management of data centers. Bart Tichelman is also an avid poker player, having won a World Series of Poker circuit event in 2008 and cashing in two WSOP events since 2013.