(USA TODAY) -- Alix Catherine Tichelman, who police say administered a fatal heroin dose to a Google executive who regularly paid her for sex, had a drug problem that had likely blossomed into full-scale addiction, a former housemate says.
The state of California is preparing to formally charge Tichelman, 26, for the death of 51-year-old Forrest Timothy Hayes on his yacht in a Santa Cruz, Calif. harbor Nov. 23.
Tichelman's former housemate in San Francisco said she saw a pattern of drug abuse years ago. "She clearly was likely way gone in her addiction," Mariya Armario said.
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Armario said Tichelman used the Internet to meet her clients. "She said they would just pick her up on dates and buy her things and give her money. I asked her if she had to sleep with them and she said she never did -- but that's what they all say," Armario said.
Police said Tichelman boasted about having more than 200 clients on SeekingArrangements.com. They said she had an "ongoing prostitution relationship" with Hayes.
Security footage from Hayes' yacht showed the married father of five suffering "medical complications" after shooting up heroin. Instead of trying to get help for Hayes, Tichelman is seen gathering her belongings including drugs and needles, downing a glass of wine and lowering the blinds before leaving the yacht, say the police.
The case has put an unsavory spotlight on demand for sex workers in Silicon Valley, where a tech boom highlighted by the success of Google, Facebook and Apple has given lonely or bored men the means to pay for sex.
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Tichelman is due back in court on Wednesday where she'll be arraigned on multiple charges, including felony manslaughter. The state of Georgia is also investigating the escort's connection to another heroin overdose in the Atlanta area.Tichelman's former boyfriend Dean Riopelle died of a heroin overdose. Detectives are reopening the case after ruling it accidental.
"I really truly believe that Alix may have had something to do with this," said Khristina Brucker, Riopelle's former nanny. "Dean hated smoking. He hated drinking and most certainly hated drugs. He was skeptical of taking aspirin let alone heroin. Do I believe that Dean injected himself with heroin, absolutely not."
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