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California Tech CEO found dead after kidnapping

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A northern California Tech CEO found dead after he kidnapped from his home in the middle of the night, authorities said Wednesday.

A Neighbor called 911 to report that Tushar Atre, founder of website developer AtreNet, was forced out of his house at 3 a.m. Tuesday and driven away in his car, a white 2008 BMW SUV, Santa Cruz County sheriff’s deputies said.

The Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office announced in a press release that “The investigation is still ongoing, but we have reason to believe the motive was robbery .”Several media outlets have called Atre a millionaire.

Hours after Atre was taken from his house Tuesday morning, sheriff’s deputies found the white BMW he was last seen in, and then California Tech CEO found dead, miles inland from his coastal home.

While authorities did not identify the body on Tuesday, the sheriff’s office established that it was Atre on Wednesday.

“That person has now been identified as 50-year-old Santa Cruz County resident, Tushar Atre,” the sheriff’s department said in a statement to PEOPLE on Wednesday.

“The investigation is still ongoing, but we have reason to believe the motive was robbery,” the statement remained.

Atre lived on the scenic Pleasure Point Drive, which overlooks the Pacific Ocean in Santa Cruz, and where homes are listed on Zillow for nearly two million dollars.

After the sheriff’s office updated a previous post about the kidnapping on Facebook, grief-filled messages began pouring in.

As we said before, Tushar Atre was taken from his home in the 3000 blocks of Pleasure Point Drive “during a crime” about 3 a.m. Tuesday and was last seen getting into a white BMW, according to a Facebook post by sheriff’s officials.

Hours later, officials updated the post, saying: “We have some unfortunate news. We have found the car associated with this case along with a deceased person.”On Wednesday, officials again updated the post to say the body had been identified as Atre.

“The investigation is still ongoing, but we have reason to believe the motive was robbery,” the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office said in a release.

The sheriff’s office said earlier on Facebook that deputies found a car belonging to the executive with a body in it, but the person inside hadn’t been identified.

A friend of Atre’s said the executive was taken after someone broke into Atre’s house at 3 a.m. Tuesday, CNN affiliate KPIX reported.

northern California Tech CEO found dead after he kidnapped

“(W)e have no idea why, we have no idea who,” the friend, Christopher Lochhead, wrote on Facebook, according to KPIX.

“We need everybody all of our friends the entire community to get behind this effort and support our sheriff’s department and the FBI and law enforcement in finding Tushar,” Lochhead said in the post, which has since been removed.

Atre was last seen getting into his 2008 BMW, the sheriff’s office said.

Atre was the founder and CEO of AtreNet, a web marketing, and design company, according to KPIX.

Contacted by CNN, Lochhead said friends and family of the kidnapped man have no comment and referred questions to the sheriff’s office.

Another neighbor, Barbara Lincoln, wondered if the victim knew his kidnapper.

“You want to know if it’s a stranger,” she said, “or if it’s something that people are familiar with each other and there was a problem.”

Atre’s social media posts suggested a love of nature and animals.

His most recent Instagram picture, posted in July, showed a seal on his oceanfront porch: “sam the seal visited this morning.”

Atre is the owner of Street, which according to the company’s LinkedIn page 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.”

From Atre’s online presence, the New York University graduate was a lover of the outdoors, surfing and had been called “one of a kind” by clients endorsing him on LinkedIn. He also wrote several blog posts for Atrenet’s website.

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