PLANT CITY — Anthropologists, crime scene technicians and medical examiners dug furiously Thursday for clues into the disappearance of Lotto winner Abraham Shakespeare. They feared heavy rains predicted for the weekend might spoil their excavation site.
Then, late in the afternoon, their three-day search unearthed what they'd been looking for: human remains.
Authorities can't be sure that the body buried more than 5 feet under a 30-foot by 30-foot concrete slab at 5802 State Road 60 E is Shakespeare's.
Hillsborough Sheriff David Gee said only the medical examiner can confirm that, and authorities weren't sure if they will need a DNA confirmation that could take weeks.
The concrete slab was put down about six months ago, Gee said.
Shakespeare, 43, has been missing since April.
"I can tell you (the body has) been here for some time," Gee said.
It's not the end they'd hoped for, Polk Sheriff Grady Judd said at a news conference in front of the dig site.
"We had always hoped to find Mr. Shakespeare alive and well," he said.
The property on State Road 60 belongs to Shar Krasniqi, thought to be the boyfriend of Dorice "DeeDee" Moore of Lakeland, a person of interest in Abraham's disappearance.
Moore could not be reached for comment Thursday night.
She currently lives in a home Shakespeare purchased; it was sold to her medical staffing company, American Medical Professionals, for a little over half of its $1.1 million price tag.
In 2006, Shakespeare won a $31 million jackpot and took $11 million in a lump sum. Deputies think Moore befriended the Lakeland man after his win.
She told authorities she bought Shakespeare's Lakeland home, set up Abraham Shakespeare LLC to take over his financial affairs, and later divorced her husband of 17 years.
Before his disappearance, Shakespeare's new found fortune was dwindling.
The felon and former day laborer doled out high-dollar loans and extravagant gifts to friends, family members and even people whose last names he didn't know.
Now, Moore owns all of Shakespeare's various real estate holdings and other assets, too — including more than $600,000 in debts owed to him.
She lives in a gated Polk County community with a fence and a surveillance system that was once Shakespeare's.
She told the Ledger newspaper in Lakeland in December that she helped him disappear.
That's what he wanted, she said, because he was falling behind on child support again and because he was so tired of people continuing to bug him for money he no longer had.
"He intentionally did not want to be found," she told the paper. "He didn't care what it took."
Moore met the Realtor who sold Shakespeare his home at a Kissimmee conference in November 2008.
Barbara Jackson said when she met Moore she was in a wheelchair because of a car accident.
She told the Realtor she was a writer and asked to meet Shakespeare to write a story or possibly a book.
Two weeks later, Moore jumped out of a Hummer in high heels at Shakespeare's home saying she had healed herself through Scuba therapy, Jackson told the Times.
And this isn't Moore's first time facing the scrutiny of the law.
She was convicted of insurance fraud and falsely reporting a crime in 2001 after parking her new Lincoln Navigator in a Pasco County garage and having an accomplice tie her up and throw her in a Wimauma ditch.
She told the people who stopped to help her that three Hispanic men had raped her at gunpoint and stole her sport utility vehicle. She was sentenced to a year of probation.
On Monday, detectives arrested Lakeland police officer Troy McKay Young, 42, in connection with the case. Investigators think Moore paid Young for information obtained from law enforcement databases.
Authorities started digging at the home site in Plant City on Tuesday. Sheriff Gee said the dig would continue Thursday night until the remains were completely unearthed, then resume today to secure any other evidence that may be buried.
A car was sent to the home of Elizabeth Walker, Shakespeare's mother, before authorities announced the remains had been found.
"It is definitely a murder investigation," Gee said. "Somebody put that body in that hole."
Times staff writer Michael Kruse contributed to this report. Robbyn Mitchell can be reached at (813) 226-3373 or firstname.lastname@example.org.