Page last updated at 19:41 GMT, Saturday, 30 January 2010

Body of lottery winner found buried in Florida

Abraham Shakespeare
Mr Shakespeare said the winnings had ruined his life

The body of a former truck driver's assistant who won $17m in a lottery in 2006 has been found buried under a concrete slab in a backyard in Florida.

Abraham Shakespeare, who was barely literate, went missing nine months ago after complaining of being exploited by hangers-on who tried to take his money.

His body was found on Friday behind a home belonging to the boyfriend of a woman who befriended him in 2007.

Police believe he was murdered, but have not yet arrested anyone.

Hillsborough County sheriff's detectives used fingerprints to identify Mr Shakespeare's body, which they found covered by a concrete slab in a backyard in Plant City.

Police do not yet know how he died, but they believe the woman, named Dorice Donegan "Dee-Dee" Moore, may be able to shed light on what happened.

'Better off broke'

A tip-off led detectives to the grave behind the home of Ms Moore's boyfriend Shar Krasniqi.

Mr Shakespeare bought the winning ticket at a store in the town of Frostproof but his brother, Robert Brown, said he often wished he had never won.

"'I'd have been better off broke.' He said that to me all the time," Mr Brown said.

Samuel Jones, a childhood friend of Mr Shakespeare's, said: "He really didn't understand it at all. It was moving so fast. It changed his life in a bad way."

When he won the lottery, he forgot about being saved
Samuel Jones

Mr Jones said his friend would tell him: "I thought all these people were my friends, but then I realised all they want is just money."

Among the new acquaintances was Ms Moore.

Property records show her company, American Medical Professionals, bought his home for $655,000 a year ago.

Not long afterward, detectives said, she helped him open a company and gave herself the ability to sign for money.

She withdrew $1m and later told detectives Mr Shakespeare gave her the cash as a gift. She bought a Hummer, a Corvette and a truck, and went on holiday.

Mr Jones said his friend lived a humble life, and just before he bought the winning ticket he joined a church and was baptised.

"When he won the lottery, he forgot about being saved," Mr Jones said.

Mr Shakespeare's friends and family said when he went missing, they had hoped he was on a beach somewhere in the Caribbean.

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