PLANT CITY - Investigators converged on a pair of Plant City homes Tuesday, looking for evidence that the dramatic saga of a missing lottery winner ended with his murder.
Law enforcement officials from Hillsborough and Polk counties converged on two neighboring yards along Highway 60 near Farkas Road, just west of Turkey Creek Road.
Detectives with metal detectors spent the day combing the scene, looking for evidence in connection with the case of long-missing lotto winner Abraham Shakespeare.
The dig marks yet another twist in the case that has made headlines across the country.
After winning the Florida Lottery a few years ago, Shakespeare was accused of stealing the winning ticket from a former co-worker. A jury took just two hours to clear him, and he walked away with $12 million, after taxes.
But Shakespeare has been missing since last April, and detectives say a significant chunk of his money seems to be gone, too.
His mother told FOX 13 she hoped that he had simply moved away to enjoy his winnings, as he told her he planned to do. But Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd believes Shakespeare was murdered.
Polk County investigators have named Dee Dee Moore as a person of interest in the case, and Sheriff Judd has gone so far as to call her a "con artist."
Detectives say Moore befriended Shakespeare, set up a joint bank account, and a few months later, moved the money into her own account.
Monday, a Lakeland police officer was arrested for allegedly providing her with confidential information about Shakespeare.
One of the properties being searched belongs to a staffing company run by Moore; the other is owned by her boyfriend and houses an attorney with connections to both Moore and Shakespeare. Investigators say the dig at the scene could take several days.
"We all have a lot of unanswered questions that we're trying to get the answers to, and we just don't have them yet," offered Colonel Albert Frost of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.
"We've been hearing it and hearing it and hearing it and I thought it was too weird," neighbor Maryanne Plattner added. "Then when they said they were looking for the body, I thought, 'How much of a body can there be after a year?"
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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