Brothers, employees behind slaying of Santa Cruz tech exec, officials say

Four people have been arrested in a connection with the abduction and murder of a tech executive in Santa Cruz County last year, authorities announced on Thursday. The suspects include two men who worked for the slain executive's cannabis business, officials said. 

The quartet of alleged killers were motivated by the potential for profit, according to the sheriff's office. 

Deputies with the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office said the suspects in the slaying of 50-year-old Tushar Atre were not from the area, so the homicide investigation took many turns and crossed state lines.

Joshua Camps, 23, of Lancaster,  Kurtis Charters, 22, of Lancaster, Stephen Lindsay, 22, of Burbank, and 19-year-old Kaleb Charters of St. Clair Shores, Michigan, all face murder, kidnapping, and robbery charges. 

Officials said Kurtis and Kaleb are brothers. 

Around 2:48 a.m. on Oct. 1 the four suspects emerged from an alley and physically entered Atre's home on Pleasure Point Road as he was sleeping, according to police. Deputies said the suspects were armed with a rifle. 

The victim was forcibly taken from the home and put into his white BMV SUV that was discovered at approximately 9 a.m. at a property on Soquel San Jose Road, near the summit in the Santa Cruz Mountains, officials said. Atre's body was also found at the property.

Lieutenant Brian Cleveland called the crime "heinous" and "senseless" and said the whole act was planned.

 "They were after monetary gain and we believe that's why this crime occurred," he said.  

Throughout the seventh-month investigation, deputies interviewed dozens of people who knew Atre and worked with him. Investigators came up with two names of employees who worked for the victim's cannabis company. They were Kaleb Charters and Stephen Lindsay.

The cannabis business is Interstitial Systems in Santa Cruz, according to KSBW

On Tuesday, 23 detectives along with law enforcement officers in Southern California and Michigan served search warrants for the four suspects.  

They were arrested without incident. Three of the suspects were booked into Santa Cruz County Jail. Kaleb Charters remains in custody in Michigan until he is extradited. 

Atre founded and was the CEO of Atre, a web marketing and design agency based in Santa Cruz.

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