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Four people arrested in connection to kidnapping, murder of Santa Cruz Co. resident


SANTA CRUZ COUNTY, Calif. (KION) Watch the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office news conference here.

UPDATE 5/21/2020 Four people have been arrested in connection to the kidnapping and murder of Santa Cruz businessman Tushar Atre.

The suspects are 23-year-old Joshua Camps of Lancaster, CA; 22-year-old Kurtis Charters of Lancaster, CA; 19-year-old Kaleb Charters of St. Clair Shores, MI and 22-year-old Stephen Lindsay of Burbank, CA.

“I can tell you there is compelling evidence against these four people. We have the right people,” Sheriff Jim Hart said.

Investigators said Kaleb Charters and Stephen Lindsay both worked for Atre at his cannabis manufacturing company, Interstitial Systems, in Santa Cruz.

“We interviewed dozens of people that knew and worked for Tushar. Their names came up early, and as we gathered more and more information on this group we were able to get to where we are today,” Lt. Brian Cleveland said.

Kurtis Charter is Kaleb’s brother. Detectives say Joshua Camps was an acquaintance. All four allegedly took part in the robbery and murder October 1.

The motive is still considered robbery. Detectives won't say what items of value the suspects were after.

“They were after monetary gain, and that’s why we believe this crime occurred,” Cleveland said.

The Sheriff's Office said it served 62 search warrants and 100 police reports over the course of the investigation.

“Coordination between detectives, criminologists, DNA, pouring through hours and hours of evidence; that was able to lead us to where we are today,” Cleveland said.

The 3,000 hours of digging the sheriff's office said they did, culminated in the arrests Tuesday. Kurtis Charters and Lindsay in Lancaster, California. Camp was arrested in Burbank, California and Kaleb Charters was extradited Thursday from St. Clair Shores, Michigan.

The case is being taken to the Santa Cruz County District Attorney's Office Thursday.

UPDATE 5/20/2020 4:20 p.m. Several suspects are booked into the Santa Cruz County Jail on murder, kidnapping and robbery charges.

The Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office will not confirm if the three men are connected to the kidnapping and murder of Tushar Atre.

The men are 22-year-old Kurtis Charter, 23-year-old Joshua Camps and 22-year-old Stephen Lindsay. They were all arrested for the same case.

The Sheriff's Office previously said it believes the motive for the murder was robbery.

KION was told that one suspect arrested for Atre's murder was arrested in St. Clair Shores, Michigan Tuesday. Detectives there say they assisted with the arrest, but are not releasing the person's name.

The Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office will have more details at a news conference Thursday at 11 a.m. That will be streaming live on our website.

PREVIOUS STORY: The Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office said several suspects were arrested in connection to the kidnapping and murder of Tushar Atre Tuesday.

The Sheriff's Office has not released details about the arrests, but has scheduled a press conference to share details Thursday.

Atre was a 50-year-old Santa Cruz tech executive who investigators said was kidnapped from his Pleasure Point home during a crime in early October. Atre was later found dead on a property he owned off Soquel San Jose Road. A pathologist said he died of a gunshot wound and confirmed that it was murder.

Surveillance video showing three male suspects was released in November.

In January, video showing a person of interest in the case was released. About two and a half hours before Atre was kidnapped, the person rode up on a bicycle, stopped in front of Atre's home and looked at it for several seconds.

The Sheriff's Office also released the route that the suspects took while driving Atre's white BMW after the kidnapping. They reportedly took East Cliff Drive to 41st Street and then southbound on Soquel Drive. After that, they took Porter to Soquel San Jose Road.

On Tuesday, people who knew Atre reacted to the arrests.

“I'm just so stoked they might have gotten the suspects and i hope there's justice its just not alright what happened to Tushar,” Mark Agnello said.

“He was an outgoing, charming guy,” neighbor Ralph Steinberg said.

Neighbors also explained that the incident shocked the surrounding community.

“Pleasure Point is really a laid-back community and that is so alien and out-of-character with the neighborhood,” Steinberg said.

Crime / Santa Cruz County / Top Stories

Avery Johnson

Avery Johnson is the Digital Content Director at KION News Channel 5/46.

Drew Andre

Drew Andre is a multi-media journalist at KION News Channel 5/46.


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