His winnings also led him to Dorice "DeeDee" Moore, who authorities said would take whatever he had left and then kill him on April 6 or 7, Shakespeare was reported missing in Novemberand the Times published this story about his life on Dec. His body was found in JanuaryMoore was arrested for first-degree murder a month later and found guilty in Before Abraham Shakespeare became the most famous missing man in Central Florida, before he won the lottery, before he went on a spree of either stunning generosity or profligate stupidity, before a co-worker sued him saying he had stolen the ticket, before a woman showed up late last year and ended up living in his palatial home after he had disappeared - before any of that - the lanky black man with the dreadlocks was the broke son of a citrus picker.
On Nov. He had no car, no driver'sno credit card. He had grown up in Lake Wales and spent time in homes for juvenile delinquents.
He could read and write, but not much. He had a long criminal record. Mostly he loitered, he drove when he wasn't allowed to drive, he stole, he hit people, and later he didn't pay for the children he fathered. He went to prison twice. After he got out in he lived with his mother.
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That's what he was doing that day in November He was ased to ride shotgun for a truck driver named Michael Ford on an overnight food route to Miami. They made a delivery in Lakeland.
They made a delivery in Winter Haven. Then they stopped at the Town Star mini-mart in Frostproof.
Ford asked Shakespeare if he wanted anything. That's how he ended up with the ticket with the s 6, 12, 13, 34, 42 and He wrote Wachovia cashier's checks to friends. He paid for funerals. It was "common knowledge" around town, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said last week, that people were "tugging on him.
The elaborate brick and tan stucco house at Red Hawk Bend Drive is in the rural area north of town, past some orange trees and a horse farm called Heaven Sent Acres, a long 10 miles from his old neighborhood. Its 6, square feet include an enclosed pool and two two-car garages and it sits behind a fence in a community behind a gate. It came with surveillance cameras.
Shakespeare was sued three months after he bought the house. The man who sued him was Michael Ford - the truck driver. The winning ticket, claimed Ford, 34, was his, and the money, or at least what was left of the money, should be his, too. Arnold Levine, another attorney who represented Ford in the suit, remembers Shakespeare as an "angry guy" whose post-Lotto loans and gifts came with "strings attached. Shakespeare said in his deposition before the trial that he never stole anything from Ford.
He detailed some of his gifts — "the Bible states it's better to give than to receive," he explained — and he told attorneys about some of the women who had been living with him in his new Red Hawk home. He mentioned three.
He knew the last name of only one. At the trial, according to Laurato, Shakespeare came to court hauling a garbage bag stuffed with thousands of lottery tickets he said he had purchased over the years. The first time Shakespeare met with Jim Valenti, his appellate attorney, Valenti said last week, there were 10 people in the room.
Valenti wouldn't say how much of Shakespeare's lottery winnings were left by then, but he did say it was "really sad. I wonder if Abraham wouldn't say he would like to go back to the day before he won that money. Family and friends haven't seen him since April. They called the Polk Sheriff's Office last month to report him missing. The other day at the Super Choice meat market here on W Memorial Boulevard, one of Shakespeare's old regular hangouts, two s with his picture and information were taped to the windows.
Authorities won't say how many tips have come in. All they'll say is that none has led them to him. If he's hiding and wants to stay that way, they say, they'll let him be — as long as they can confirm that he's okay.
Until then, though, his disappearance is "suspicious" and homicide is a "possibility," Judd, the sheriff, said last week. In front of the Super Choice, Eddie Dixon, with a black cap on his head and gold teeth in his mouth, pointed at a. She's She's living in Shakespeare's house behind the fence behind the gate because she owns it.
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Or at least her company does. It's a medical staffing outfit in Plant City called American Medical Professionals, which now owns all of Shakespeare's various real estate holdings and other assets, too. She told the Ledger newspaper in Lakeland last week that she helped him disappear. That's what he wanted, she said, because he was falling behind on child support again — a second son born a little more than a year ago to a much younger woman — and because he was so tired of people continuing to bug him for money he no longer had.
It started at an annual small-business conference in November in Kissimmee.
That's where Moore met Barbara Jackson. Moore said she had been in a car accident. Moore was part of a group of people Jackson told about Shakespeare and how he had changed her views about money. Moore told Jackson she was a writer and that she wanted to do a story on her and Shakespeare. Maybe even a book. Jackson set up a meeting.
The three of them got together in Lakeland. And she was on heels. She said she healed herself through scuba therapy. It wasn't even two weeks. She got an accomplice to tie her up, take her to Wimauma and throw her in a ditch. Then she told a passer-by who stopped to help that she had been raped at gunpoint by three Hispanic men who stole her Navigator. She was convicted of insurance fraud and falsely reporting a crime. She got a year of probation.
Earlier this fall, as rumors about Shakespeare's disappearance began to circulate around Lakeland, she told three different Ledger reporters that she could set up an interview with him. It never happened. She told Shakespeare's mother she could set up a meeting with him.
Sheriff's detectives, she tearfully told the paper, have questioned her and searched her home, her Hummer and her hard drive. They've given her a lie-detector test and checked for blood. Shakespeare's mother, Elizabeth Walker, who works in the cafeteria at Florida Southern College and didn't return phone messages left last week, told the Ledger last month that she didn't know what to think, about Moore, or about her son and where he might be.
As Shakespeare appears to scroll through images taken by the surveillance cameras in his house, Moore asks if he gets tired of people asking him for money. A foreign country? She asks him if he's going to miss his home. He seems annoyed with her. He motions for her to turn off the camera. It doesn't make sense, say those who know Shakespeare. He showed up at Super Choice every day. He sometimes went on trips but always came back. One recent evening no one answered the doorbell at Red Hawk Bend Drive.