Body Discovered Hours After Tech Executive Was Kidnapped from His Home in Santa Cruz
A public informations officer for the county sheriff's office tells PEOPLE that "there is more than one suspect involved"
A kidnapping investigation in Santa Cruz, California has taken a deadly turn.
The mystery began early Tuesday morning, Santa Cruz police said in a statement on Facebook, when tech executive Tushar Atre, 50, was taken from his home “during a crime.”
“We need the public’s help in locating the victim of a kidnapping,” the statement said, adding that Atre was last seen getting into a 2008 white BMW SUV with the license plate 7CUG581. ABC7 reported that the vehicle belonged to Atre’s girlfriend.
In an update later on Tuesday to the initial statement, police said they “found the car associated with this case along with a deceased person. That person has not been identified. Our detectives are still working on this case.”
A public information officer for the county sheriff’s office tells PEOPLE that “there is more than one suspect involved,” and that they are “still actively investigating motive of the kidnapping.”
“We cannot confirm the identity of the body that was found yet,” the PIO says.
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The car was found about 14 miles inland from Atre’s home on the 3000 block of Pleasure Point Drive, which is on the coast.
Atre is the owner of Atrenet, a corporate website development company that has “been serving the web design and development needs of many of the most innovative and successful high tech companies in Silicon Valley since 1996,” according to the company’s LinkedIn.
There are several positive endorsements for Atre on his own LinkedIn — his profile photo is one of him surfing — and his clients have called him “one of a kind.”
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The New York University graduate has also authored several blog posts on Atrenet’s website.
Atre’s Instagram feed is full of outdoor shots of the ocean and sunsets, and one video of the tech founder playing the guitar posted in January seems to be taken inside of his home, as it is tagged at Pleasure Point.
His most recent post, shared in July, featured “sam the seal” visiting his porch, which overlooks the ocean.
Neighbors told ABC7 that they were “shocked” that such a gruesome crime could take place in their community.
The news station reported that one neighbor “said they saw the BMW late Monday night on Pleasure Point while walking his dog,” and that another “said he heard some sort of commotion in the morning.”
The sheriff’s office is urging anyone with information about the case to call Detective Ainsworth at (831) 454-7635.