The Escort Who Killed the Google Exec
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The Escort Who Killed the Google Exec


Last November, 51-year-old Google exec Forrest Timothy Hayes died of a heroin overdose aboard his yacht in the Santa Cruz Small Craft Harbor. Now, thanks to surveillance footage, the last woman to see him alive has been taken to court on eight felony charges, including manslaughter.

Tichelman and Her Techies

Alix Tichelman is a 26-year-old high-end escort who has over 200 clients among the Silicon Valley tech moguls. She met Hayes through Seeking Arrangement, a “sugar daddy dating website” with over three million members, and they reportedly had regular liaisons. On July 4, a Santa Cruz police officer posed as a prospective client, offered her $1000 for her sexual services and arrested her.

The yacht’s surveillance cameras show Tichelman injecting Hayes with the heroin that would kill him. After he lost consciousness, she collected her needles and other belongings from the room, stepped over the exec’s body to finish a glass of wine and then lowered a window blind before leaving the boat, which bore the ironic moniker Escape. While I can certainly relate to her reluctance to let what was probably very expensive wine go to waste, by lowering the blinds she made it pretty clear she wasn’t expecting him to sleep it off.

The Anatomy of Dark Sides

With five children and a wife of 17 years, Hayes was universally described as a “family man”—albeit the sort who hires thousand-dollar call girls. He worked at Google’s innovation lab and had previously worked for Apple. We may never know what his drug habits were like before his last deadly escape, but the circumstances of his death completely shocked his friends, who had spent the last few months in the dark. “No way I believe this guy did heroin,” one coworker said.

Tichelman, on the other hand, made no secret of her dark side. Seriously, who leaves a note called “heroin” on their Facebook page? It’s as if nobody told her social media are supposed to present a happy, sterilized alter ego. Her online activities reveal her struggles with body image, her obsession with Kate Moss and even a novel in progress. It turns out that her father is a tech CEO himself. Let’s just not even go there.

The Common Denominator

Hayes wasn’t the first middle-aged man Tichelman had watched OD. For several years she dated Dean Riopelle, a 53-year-old nightclub owner and rock singer known for keeping monkeys on his Georgia property. In 2013, just two months before Hayes’ death, Riopelle fatally overdosed on heroin, oxycodone and alcohol. Tichelman tried to revive her boyfriend for five minutes before for calling 911 in a panic. She claimed she’d been showering, heard a crash and come out to find Riopelle unconscious on the ground.

Tichelman wasn’t charged in Riopelle’s death, but now her involvement in Hayes’ OD has prompted police to re-examine the earlier case. A previous battery arrest against Riopelle (she bit him) suggests the couple was plagued by domestic strife in the weeks leading up to the bar owner’s death. But her panicked 911 call as she tried to resuscitate her partner seems to reflect a very different Tischelman than the cold-hearted call girl sipping wine over her client’s corpse. Did her boyfriend’s death harden her to the horrors of heroin, or was there more to the Monkey Man’s death than meets the eye? For outsiders, it may be a compelling mystery about the dark underbelly of Silicon Valley. But for addicts, it’s just one more testament to the chain of tragedy our disease wreaks as it ripples through society without discrimination.

Tichelman didn’t enter a plea and is being held on $1.5 million bail. Her arraignment will be July 16. Stay tuned.

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About Author

Erica Larsen AKA Eren Harris blogs at Whitney Calls and Clean Bright Day. Their writing has also been published on Salon, Selfish, Violet Rising and YourTango. They live in Los Angeles with their husband and their enormous cat.