The Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office released the video Wednesday, hoping that someone might recognize the mannerisms, clothing or gait of the three, whose faces are not visible. An agency spokeswoman said investigators think the trio is responsible for the “horrific murder.”
“It is an eerie video,” the spokeswoman, Ashley Keehn, told reporters. “And it’s hard to watch knowing what the suspects did to Mr. Atre.”
Atre was the founder and chief executive of a Santa Cruz-based Web marketing and design company, AtreNet. Launched in 1996 after Atre and his colleagues “drove 3000+ miles in under three days from NYC to Silicon Valley,” according to its website, the firm lists Hewlett-Packard, Workday and GitLab among its clients. He was also a lover of the outdoors whose Instagram account catalogued him surfing, biking, camping and foraging for mushrooms.
“The AtreNet team figured it out early — live where you love, and create the rest from there,” reads the biography at the end of one of his blog posts.
In the months before his death, Atre had started a new venture: a cannabis manufacturing business, Interstitial Systems. The company was licensed by the state of California, which legalized the drug in 2018.
Atre’s kidnapping was reported soon after it happened. A person inside his home called 911 and said the business executive had been taken away inside his girlfriend’s BMW SUV. Later in the day on Oct. 1, authorities announced they had found the car, along with Atre’s body.
The sheriff’s office said Wednesday that community members are offering a $150,000 reward for information leading to arrests.
A memorial grew outside Atre’s home, with friends leaving flowers, candles and photographs. Posters carried messages such as “Surf into the beautiful beyond” and “Ride the eternal wave."
In an online tribute, AtreNet said its employees were “saddened and shocked” by the death of Atre, describing him as “clever, creative and hard-working.”
“He loved his family and friends, and found joy and passion in every facet of life,” the tribute said. “Most importantly, Tushar pushed others to think and act differently — to do better, and to always strive for more.”