Indian American Tech CEO Tushar Atre — who was kidnapped from his Santa Cruz, Calif. home early morning Oct. 1 and found dead later that day — died from a single gunshot wound, according to local law enforcement.
The Santa Cruz County Sheriff and Coroner’s office released a statement Oct. 7, which read in part: “Following an autopsy, our pathologist determined the cause of death is a gunshot wound and has confirmed this to be a homicide.” Officials have not released the type of weapon involved nor where on his body Atre was shot.
Atre, 50, the founder and CEO of AtreNet and co-founder of Interstitial Systems – a licensed cannabis dispensary and delivery service — was reportedly kidnapped from his ocean-front home on the Northern California coast at 3 a.m. Oct. 1. Interstitial Systems is headquartered just a short distance from Atre’s home. (See earlier India-West story here: https://bit.ly/2nFVHzM)
He was seen leaving in a 2008 white BMW SUV, which belongs to his girlfriend Rachel Emerlye, who lives in Massachusetts, but was apparently visiting Atre that week, according to various news reports.
At 10 a.m. that morning, Atre’s body was found by police about 10 miles away from his home, along with the stolen vehicle.
Ashley Keehn, spokeswoman for the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s office, told India-West that Emerlye is not a person of interest in the case. “There is nothing to suggest she was involved,” said Keehn, who declined to state how the kidnappers got into Atre’s home or Emerlye’s car, saying the case is under investigation. She did confirm that the car is registered to Emerlye.
Various media have reported that Emerlye also owns a cannabis-related business, Benevolent Bound.
Multiple suspects are believed to be involved in the kidnapping and homicide, according to law enforcement reports. No suspects have been taken into custody, said Keehn. She confirmed that Atre was involved in a cannabis-related industry and that investigators are looking into whether his involvement in the marijuana business played a role in his kidnapping and murder.
The Sheriff’s Office said in a press statement that the homicide appears to be an isolated incident.
According to his LinkedIn profile, Atre, who was born in New York, earned his B.A. in English Literature from New York University in 1992. He founded AtreNet, a web marketing and design firm, in 1996. AtreNet served some of the San Francisco Bay Area’s largest corporations, including Hewlett Packard, VMWare, Marvell, Verisign, LSI Logic, Seagate, and dozens of others, according to the company’s Web site.
On social media, many Santa Cruz residents and Atre’s friends shared their respect for the deceased businessman and spoke about his energy, motivation, and zest for life.