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Police: Remains buried under driveway are of lottery winner

By Mallory Simon, CNN
Abraham Shakespeare won a court battle over a fellow trucker who accused him of snatching the winning ticket.
Abraham Shakespeare won a court battle over a fellow trucker who accused him of snatching the winning ticket.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Remains identified by fingerprints; autopsy results ready Monday
  • Remains are ex-truck driver Abraham Shakespeare
  • Remains buried 5 feet below recently added concrete in Plant City, Florida
  • Shakespeare disappeared two years after he won $31 million
RELATED TOPICS
  • Crime
  • Police
  • Florida

(CNN) -- Police have identified human remains found buried under recently added concrete at a home in Plant City, Florida, as missing lottery millionaire Abraham Shakespeare, police said Friday.

Dr. Dollete White of the Hillsborough County Medical Examiner's Office made the identification. CNN affiliate WTSP reported that the remains were identified from fingerprints.

The full results of an autopsy should be ready Monday, the medical examiner's office said, noting that it will work through the weekend to try to discover the cause of death.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office called in an anthropologist from the University of South Florida to assist during the dig. Debbie Carter with the sheriff's office said, "it took so long because investigators only removed 4 inches of dirt at a time so to not disturb any possible evidence."

Deputies made the discovery of remains Thursday after a tip came in, suggesting that investigators would find a body near a home in Plant City, according to CNN affiliate WFTV.

However, Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee said the investigation and information specifically led authorities to the area after they began to believe that he might be dead because of "sinister means and motives."

"Our indications were it would be there," Gee said Thursday night.

Police scanned the newly finished concrete slabs near the home on Wednesday and removed them. On Thursday, Gee said that they discovered the remains buried 5 feet below the surface and that it appeared they had been there for a while.

Shakespeare, a 43-year-old truck driver, won a $31 million Florida lottery prize in 2006. A year later, he won a court challenge from a fellow trucker who accused Shakespeare of snatching the winning ticket out of his wallet while the two were delivering meat to Miami restaurants.

Shakespeare's family reported him missing November 9, telling the Polk County sheriff's office that they hadn't seen him since April.

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said that when his investigation began, authorities had hoped to find Shakespeare alive "and he truly had just wanted to hide from those who were asking him for money."

"As our investigation continued, the information we developed led us to believe he may very well have ended up with an untimely death," Judd said.

Both Judd and Gee would not comment on whether anything else was found inside the man-made grave or whether a previous person of interest was connected to the area. The home, according to WFTV, belongs to the boyfriend of a person of interest in the disappearance of Shakespeare.

Police said they were now shifting their focus to a murder investigation.

"It's painfully obvious he didn't get there by himself," Judd said.

Gee said police from Polk and Hillsborough counties were already working with prosecutors on the case and hope to bring to justice the person responsible for what they say is clearly cold-blooded murder.

"Somebody put that body in that hole," Gee said. "This isn't by any means just where we find someone on the side of the road. Somebody has obviously put him there."

CNN's John Couwels contributed to this report.

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