Police don’t know if Abraham Shakespeare wanted to disappear, or if he’s a victim of foul play
In 2006, truck driver Abraham Shakespeare won $31 million in the Florida lottery. But like so many who win, his luck quickly turned to trouble.
UPDATE: See Abraham Shakespeare, Missing Florida Lottery Winner, May Be Dead.
A fellow trucker claimed the Lakeland, Florida man stole the winning ticket from his wallet while they were driving to Miami on their meat deliveries to restaurants. Shakespeare countered by saying he’d given Michael Ford money to buy the tickets when they stopped at a convenience store. It took a jury only two hours to agree with Shakespeare.
But with so much money — and so many friends and relatives trying to glom onto it — the life of a lottery winner is never that easy. In April, Shakespeare simply disappeared. And no one knows what to make of it…
The Polk County Sheriff’s office is offering a $5,000 reward for information on his whereabouts. But they don’t know if he’s a victim of foul play, or if he just took off to get away from the mooches.
“The fact that he’s been gone since April, no contact with family, and that Thanksgiving holiday has come and gone with no word from him, that’s a concern,” spokeswoman Donna Wood told CNN.
“We have a man who certainly has the means, being a lottery winner, to take himself into seclusion. If that’s what he has chosen to do, no law says he can’t do that. If that’s the case, all we need is a phone call or some confirmation to verify his well-being. But we can’t take the chance that something else might have happened.”
“Until we can verify his whereabouts, we consider him missing and potentially a victim of a crime.”
At 6-foot-5 and just 190 pounds, it won’t be easy for Shakespeare to hide if that’s his intent. But with that kind of money, he could have also disappeared to the darkest corners of the world.
Then again, that same money could have brought out the darkness in someone else who wanted it.