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Fla. Sheriff Fears Missing Lottery Winner Killed

The AP via YellowBrix

January 06, 2010

LAKELAND, Fla. (AP) — In 2006, Abraham Shakespeare — a truck driver’s assistant who lived with his mother — won $30 million in the Florida lottery. His good fortune may have cost him his life.

Shakespeare vanished months ago. His mother hopes he is somewhere in the Caribbean, lying on a beach and enjoying the good life away from all the hangers-on who were constantly hitting him up for money.

The sheriff has a more ominous theory: Shakespeare was killed.

‘’There are a lot of odd and bizarre circumstances in this case,’’ Sheriff Grady Judd said. ‘’We fear and are preparing for the worst. We’re working this case as if it were a homicide.’’

Shakespeare, 43, won the big jackpot after buying a lottery ticket at a convenience store in a town called Frostproof, claiming later that he gave the last $3 in his pocket to a homeless man just before the winning numbers were announced.

Shakespeare — who had a criminal record that included arrests and prison time for burglary, battery and not paying child support — took a lump-sum payment of $16.9 million instead of annual installments.

He bought a Nissan Altima, a Rolex from a pawn shop, a $1 million home in a gated community. He talked about starting a foundation for the poor and insisted the money wouldn’t change him.

’’I’m not a material person,‘’ he said in 2007. ’’I don’t let material things run me. I’m on a tight budget.’’

The money quickly caused him problems.

A former co-worker sued him in 2007, accusing Shakespeare of stealing the winning ticket from him. Six months later, a jury ruled the ticket was Shakespeare’s.

Then there were the people constantly asking him for a piece of his fortune.

‘’They didn’t wait. They just came right after they found out he won this money,’’ his mother, Elizabeth Walker, said recently.

She said her son was generous, paying for funerals, lending money to friends starting businesses and even giving a million dollars to a guy known only as ‘’Big Man.’’

Not long after he bought the million-dollar home in early 2007, he was approached by a woman named Dee Dee Moore, said family and officials.


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