Drugs, prostitution and the death of a major corporate executive sound like the elements of a made-for-TV movie. But in this case, the story is all too real, and also has a surprising connection to the world of gambling.
Alix Catherine Tichelman, a model who police say was also a high-end prostitute, has been charged with manslaughter in connection with the death of Forrest Tim Hayes, a Google executive. Tichelman is accused of injecting Hayes with heroin on his yacht, then leaving him to die of the resulting overdose. Hayes died on November 23, 2013.
That charge was handed down in Santa Cruz Superior Court last week, along with charges of possession, administration and transportation of drugs, as well as destroying evidence, engaging in prostitution, and agreeing to prostitution. Tichelman did not enter a plea.
Security Footage Shows Tichelman on Yacht
Police allege that Tichelman had an ongoing relationship with Hayes in her role as a prostitute. Security footage from Hayes’ yacht, the “Escape,” allegedly shows Tichelman stepping over Hayes’ body and drinking from a glass of wine without doing anything to aid him after she had allegedly injected him with the ultimately fatal heroin overdose. Fingerprints on the glass of wine helped to identify Tichelman, as did her distinctive tattoos, which she had shared on social media accounts.
Tichelman was arrested last week after police lured her to a Santa Cruz hotel. Reports say that police led her to believe that a rich client was willing to pay her $1,000 for sex.
While the current charge related to Hayes’ death is manslaughter, the situation could get even worse for Tichelman should the investigation turn up more evidence.
“If the evidence shows that murder can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, then we’ll certainly evaluate that when that’s presented,” said prosecutor Rafael Vazquez. “She knew the act was dangerous to human life and she acted deliberately and in conscious disregard for human life.”
Tichelman is Daughter of CEO Poker Player
Tichelman is the daughter of Bart Tichelman, the CEO of SynapSense, a Folsom-based firm that manages Internet data centers throughout the world. He is also a successful poker player with over $430,000 in career tournament earnings. Most of that came in one major cash: a victory in a 2008 World Series of Poker Circuit event in Tunica that earned him $425,595 in prize money. Bart Tichelman is still active in poker today, even cashing in a World Series of Poker event within the past few weeks.
Alix Tichelman was previously linked with Dean Riopelle, a former lover who died just two months before Hayes. Riopelle died of a heart attack, but police are now reportedly reopening an investigation into his death as the circumstances were very similar to those of Hayes.
There’s also another connection with a similar death in Tichelman’s past. She once dated Warren Ullom, an Atlanta singer who was convicted of the voluntary manslaughter of a woman who died after a lethal dose of heroin.
Tichelman was known for modeling under the pseudonym of AK Kennedy, and once said she enjoyed modeling because it allowed her to play a character. She also saw herself as a writer and poet, sometimes posting dark poems to Facebook and other social media sites.