Now free after serving jail time for her role in the death of a Google executive, Alix Tichelman is speaking out.
But if the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office has its way, she’ll be behind bars again soon.
Tichelman, 30, who has been referred to in media as the “Harbor Hooker” and “Call Girl Killer,” gave an interview recently to California television station KSBW that aired Friday. On Monday, the Fulton DA issued a press release revealing that it had indicted Tichelman several months ago for her role in the death of Dean Riopelle, a Milton resident and former owner of the Masquerade music club.
A Fulton County grand jury indicted Tichelman on Sept. 15, 2017, on two counts of felony murder, distribution of heroin and distribution of oxycodone. There has been a warrant for Tichelman’s arrest since Sept. 28, 2017, but she is no longer living in the United States.
After being found guilty of felony involuntary manslaughter for her role in the 2013 death of former Google executive Forrest Timothy Hayes, Tichelman served two years in a California jail. When she was released from jail on March 29, 2017, ICE agents were there. They detained Tichelman and deported her to Canada. Tichelman had been living in the United States with a green card.
The Fulton DA said in the press release that it will be “working with Canadian authorities” to extradite Tichelman back to the United States to face those charges.
“I’m clean and sober, and I work a normal job, 40 hours a week, and I have an amazing relationship and I’m very close with my family,” Tichelman told KSBW last week. “I just try to stay positive and make the right choices.”
Tichelman also told KSBW that she “had nothing to do” with Riopelle’s death and was “saddened” when Santa Cruz police tried to connect her to it after Hayes’ death.
Tichelman had spent part of her younger life in Georgia. Her parents lived in north Fulton County for several years. She attended Northview High School in Duluth in 2004, and in 2008 she attended Georgia State University for two semesters. She told KSBW that her “immediate family” still lives in Georgia.
Attempts made by the AJC to reach Tichelman’s parents were unsuccessful.
The death of Hayes was the subject of an episode of “48 Hours,” an investigative news show on CBS, but it also touched on Tichelman’s relationship with Riopelle, who died in September 2013 after he overdosed on heroin. Riopelle had sent Tichelman to rehab and bought her an engagement ring, according to the show’s report.
Tichelman was with Riopelle when he died, police said, and she was with Hayes on his 46-foot yacht two months later when he overdosed. Santa Cruz police say that camera footage from the yacht showed Tichelman injecting Hayes with heroin and then stepping over him while holding a glass of red wine after he passed out.
Hayes was found dead the next morning. The two met on “Seeking Arrangement,” a dating website.
Riopelle’s death was initially ruled accidental and Tichelman was not charged, but police decided to take a second look when, while being interviewed by Santa Cruz police about Hayes’ death, Tichelman said she supplied Riopelle with heroin. The club owner was 53 when he died, the divorced father of two. The Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office said the death was the result of “heroin, oxycodone and ethanol toxicity.”
The call Tichelman made to 911 after Riopelle overdosed was aired by 48 Hours.
“Um, I don’t know, I think my boyfriend overdosed or something, like he... He just won’t respond,” Tichelman says. “He’s laying on the ground, I don’t know.”
Channel 2 Action News spoke to Milton City councilman Matt Kunz about the indictment. Kunz was a friend of Riopelle’s.
“Dean was a man who was moving beyond his past but suffered somewhat because of it. When I met (Tichelman), I think she was trying fit in, in a sense,” Kunz told Channel 2. “Dean left this earth way too soon and he was a great friend and one day we’ll see him again.”
A spokesman for the Fulton DA’s office said the case is still open and active. Tichelman has not been extradited yet.
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