Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Prostitute in Google exec case linked to 2nd death

11 July 2014, 12:17

Milton, Georgia — Two months before police say a high-priced prostitute calmly left a Google executive dying from a heroin overdose on his yacht, the woman panicked on the phone with a police dispatcher as her boyfriend lay on the floor of their home in the throes of a fatal overdose.

Police said Thursday they are re-examining the death of Dean Riopelle, 53, the owner of a popular Atlanta music venue. Riopelle had been dating Alix Tichelman, 26, who is now charged with manslaughter in the November death in California of Google executive Forrest Hayes. She was never charged in Riopelle's death.

"Both subjects in these cases died of heroin overdoses, so there's just several factors we want to look at to make sure that we didn't miss anything," Milton police Capt. Shawn McCarty said.

It is not clear how long Tichelman may have been involved in prostitution, though police in California say she had many clients in wealthy Silicon Valley. Police there also said that, after Hayes' death, she had done online searches for how to defend herself legally after administering a lethal dose of heroin.

Numerous social media postings, photos and other articles online suggest she was pursuing a career as a fetish model and a life with Riopelle — one photo posted on her Facebook page shows her displaying a diamond "promise ring" given to her by Riopelle.

Riopelle and Tichelman had been dating for about two and a half years and lived together, said Riopelle's sister, Dee Riopelle.

In a 2012 interview with a fetish magazine, fIXE, under the pseudonym AK Kennedy, Tichelman describes herself as a model, writer and makeup artist.

One post on her Facebook page, titled simply "heroin," is a poem that opens with the line: "this private downward spiral-this suffocating blackhole."

She also said she was interested in bondage, dominance, sadism and masochism, or BDSM. She said she and Riopelle would go to clubs, with her wearing a collar and leash.

Riopelle was known for owning the Masquerade, a popular Atlanta music venue.

"He was very, very wise when it came to business sense," Dee Riopelle said. "Everything Dean touched turned to gold."

On Sept. 6, a drunken Tichelman called police, saying Riopelle threw her to the ground, according to a police report. Riopelle told officers that she had taken pills and drank alcohol, and had been stage diving and exposing her breasts that night at the Masquerade. He said he took her home because he did not approve.

Riopelle also told officers that she bit him on the finger and threatened to hit herself and tell police Riopelle had beaten her. A neighbor confirmed hearing Tichelman say that. She was charged with battery and arrested; Riopelle was not.

Less than two weeks later, a panicked Tichelman called police, saying her boyfriend had overdosed on something and wouldn't respond.

Tichelman tried for five minutes to revive him before calling, according to a police report. She said she had been in the shower when she heard a crash and came out to find Riopelle unconscious.

Riopelle died at a hospital a week later. An autopsy report listed his death as an accidental overdose of heroin, oxycodone and alcohol. Tichelman had told the dispatcher that he had been taking painkillers and drinking.

Police say surveillance video from the Google executive's yacht shows Tichelman's next deadly encounter with heroin in California, on Nov. 23.

Santa Cruz Deputy Police Chief Steve Clark gives the following account from the video:

Tichelman prepares the heroin to a liquid and injects it into Hayes' arm. Shortly after, Hayes clutches his chest, near his heart. Tichelman tries to prop him up, but he then loses consciousness.

Tichelman then starts picking up her belongings, including the needle, and cleans up a counter while stepping over Hayes several times. During that time, Tichelman calmly drinks a glass of wine and surveys the scene.

Tichelman then goes outside the cabin of the boat on the dock, looks back inside, then pulls down a window blind, closes a door and leaves.

"Never does she call 911 or call out to others in nearby boats for help. She never tries to administer any aid to him," Clark said. "She is more concerned about getting herself out and concealing evidence than helping Mr. Hayes."

Clark said that investigators learned that Tichelman later did online searches "on how to defend herself after giving a lethal dose of heroin."

Investigators also learned that Tichelman planned to leave California late last month, and maybe even the country, Clark said.

- AP


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Wilon Ochieng
Labour Party to dump both Jubilee...

The Labour Party of Kenya is likely to avoid supportoing both the CORD and Jubilee factions during the 2017 General Elections. Read more...

Submitted by
William Korir
Ukambani MP quits Jubilee, to run...

An Ukambani MP has quit the Jubilee Party, citing voter apathy as his reason behind leaving the ruling coalition. Read more...

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
Government launches probe into Po...

The government has launched an inquiry into the circumstances that could have led to two National Police Service helicopter accidents in August and September this year. Read more...

Submitted by
Wilwon Ochieng
Deputy Governor's ally found with...

The EACC has recovered KES 2 million in fake currency from a close ally of Deputy Governor for Tharaka Nithi Eliud Mati. Read more...

Submitted by
William Korir
Mudavadi given permission to join...

Musalia Mudavadi has been ghranted permission by his party to join the CORD Coalition. Read more...

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
EACC officers raid Deputy Governo...

EACC officers raided the home of a Deputy Governor as theft case continues in court. Read more...