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Wednesday 1 October 2014

Woman charged over heroin death

Published 10/07/2014 | 08:28

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Alix Tichelman waits to be escorted from Santa Cruz Superior Court after appearing for her arraignment (AP/Santa Cruz Sentinel, Shmuel Thaler)

An alleged high-end prostitute accused of injecting heroin into a Google executive on his yacht in California and leaving him to die when he overdosed, has appeared in court on manslaughter and heroin charges.

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Alix Tichelman, 26, in handcuffs and a red jumpsuit, did not enter a plea on Wednesday and was appointed a public defender. She is being held on 1.5 million US dollars bail (£875,000).

Surveillance footage from the yacht shows Tichelman gather her belongings, including the heroin and needles, step over the 51-year-old victim's body to finish a glass of wine and then lower a blind before leaving the boat, Santa Cruz police said.

Police said Tichelman did not provide first aid or call emergency authorities as the man, identified as Forrest Timothy Hayes, suffered medical complications and went unconscious during the November overdose aboard his 50ft yacht, Escape. His body was discovered the next morning by the boat's captain, police said.

Police are also investigating Tichelman in connection with a similar incident in another state, Santa Cruz deputy police chief Steve Clark said. He did not elaborate.

"There's a pattern of behaviour here where she doesn't seek help when someone is in trouble," he said.

Tichelman's lawyer, Diana August, did not immediately return a call seeking comment. Assistant district Attorney Rafael Vazquez said authorities are still investigating the case and may file more serious charges.

Tichelman was arrested on July 4 after police said a detective lured her back to the Santa Cruz area by posing as a potential client and reaching agreement on a price of more than 1,000 US dollars (£583).

Police said Tichelman, who boasted she had more than 200 clients, met her clients through the website, SeekingArrangement.com, which purports to connect wealthy men and women with attractive companions. Her clients included other Silicon Valley executives, Clark said.

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