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Tushar Atre case: Inside the kidnapping and murder of the tech executive

Who Shot the Tech Exec?
Who Shot the Tech Exec? 40:50

Who would target the 50-year-old tech executive-turned-cannabis entrepreneur and would surveillance video help investigators crack the case?

An entrepreneur & adventurer

Tushar Atre
Tushar Atre, 50, owned a web design company and was well-known in the tech community. Rachael Emerlye

Tushar Atre was living near the beach in Santa Cruz, California. Friends say he loved adventure and especially surfing. 

Oct. 1, 2019: Mysterious surveillance video

Tushar Atre surveillance video
Three hooded figures are seen on surveillance video walking in the direction of Tushar Atre's house on Pleasant Point Drive on Oct. 1, 2019. Santa Cruz County Court

A neighbor's surveillance cameras captured three individuals walking out of an alley on Pleasure Point Drive in Santa Cruz, California, at 2:48 a.m. Investigators say they are seen heading toward Tushar Atre's residence.

A commotion in the middle of the night

Tushar Atre evidence
One of Tushar Atre's employees, who was staying at the house, says he heard a commotion around 3 a.m. Evidence photo

Tushar Atre was at home asleep around 3 a.m. when employees who were staying with him heard loud noises and banging. One house guest heard two unidentified male voices. They were asking about a safe. The guest then heard the commotion move outside and the sound of cars driving away. A 911 call was made at 3:34 a.m.

No sign of forced entry

Tushar Atre evidence
The front door and entry into Tushar Atre's Santa Cruz home.  Evidence photo

Santa Cruz County Sheriff's officers responded to Tushar's residence within 10 minutes. They found no sign of forced entry.

No sign of ransacking

Tushar Atre's kitchen
Tushar Atre's kitchen Evidence photo

Investigators took photos of Tushar's home which they say did not appear ransacked.

A safe full of cash

Tushar Atre evidence
Tushar Atre's safe located in his bedroom. Evidence photo

Investigators say Tushar Atre had $80,000 in his bedroom safe. But they say the suspects did not get the safe open. 

Blood in the street

Tushar Atre evidence
Investigators took photos of what was later determined to be blood down the street from Tushar Atre's home.  Evidence photo

Investigators found blood in the middle of the street. A white BMW SUV that belonged to Tushar Atre's girlfriend Rachael Emerlye was missing from his driveway.

Authorities find the white BMW  

Tushar Atre evidence
Rachael Emerlye's white BMW SUV was found abandoned in the Santa Cruz mountains. Evidence photo

About six hours later, in the Santa Cruz mountains where Tushar had his cannabis farm, investigators found the missing BMW.     

Tushar Atre's body found

Tushar Atre evidence
Investigators marked where shell casings were found near Tushar Atre's body in the Santa Cruz mountains.  Evidence photo

About 20 to 30 yards away from the SUV investigators found Tushar Atre's body. He'd been fatally shot and stabbed.   

Victim's hands bound

Tushar Atre evidence
Tushar Atre's hands were bound in flex-cuffs. Evidence photo

Investigators say Atre's hands were bound with flex-ties.     

Tushar fought for his life

Surveillance video shows Tushar Atre being chased by one of the suspects. Atre's hands are bound behind him. Santa Cruz County Court

Neighborhood surveillance cameras captured video showing Tushar running down the street, with his hands tied behind his back, attempting to escape his attackers. Investigators say he was then tackled to the ground and stabbed repeatedly. 

SUV processed for evidence

Tushar Atre evidence
There was blood on the outside and inside of  Rachael  Emerlye's BMW, which was recovered at Tushar Atre's cannibis farm. Evidence photo

Investigators ruled out Rachael Emerlye as a suspect early on. She was out of town at the time of Tushar's kidnapping and murder. Her SUV was examined for DNA and fingerprints.     

Nov. 13, 2019: The suspects brought an assault rifle

Tushar Atre surveillance video
Investigators say one of the three suspects on surveillance video, highlighted, was holding an assault rifle.  Santa Cruz County Court

The Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office released a portion of surveillance video showing three unidentified suspects. Investigators say one of the suspects appeared to be carrying an assault rifle.

Dec. 4, 2019: Alleged unresolved issues

Kaleb Charters and Stephen Lindsay
Kaleb Charters, left, and Stephen Lindsay working on Tushar Atre's Summit property.  Santa Cruz County Court

Detectives went to Las Vegas to interview two of Tushar Atre's former employees – Kaleb Charters and Stephen Lindsay. They admitted having had a dispute with Tushar over being paid. When they were shown the surveillance video of the three figures near Tushar's house, Lindsay denied knowing the three shadowy figures, and both men denied returning to Santa Cruz after they stopped working for him.  

Jan. 29, 2020: Justice for Tushar Atre

Tushar Atre reward poster
The Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office offered a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction in the homicide case. Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office

After nearly four months with no apparent leads, the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office announced a $200,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.  

More surveillance video

Tushar Atre evidence
Local street surveillance video captures a blue sedan driving toward Tushar Atre's business property in the Santa Cruz Mountains.  Evidence photo

The Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office identified a blue sedan on additional surveillance video. The video also showed the white BMW SUV. Soon authorities were able to map out the suspects' possible route.

May 19, 2020: Suspects arrested

Tushar Atre murder suspects
Pictured from left, Stephen Lindsay, 24, Kurtis Charters, 23, Kaleb Charters, 21 and Joshua Camps, 25.  Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office

The Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office arrested Stephen Lindsay, Kurtis Charters, Kaleb Charters and Joshua Camps. All four were charged with murder, kidnapping, and robbery. They have all pleaded not guilty.    

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