TAMPA — At first, it was just a missing person case.
Lotto winner Abraham Shakespeare had disappeared, and Polk County detectives didn't know if he was dead or gone on his own accord.
Dorice "DeeDee" Moore, who was living at Shakespeare's last known address, told them that he skipped town to avoid financial obligations.
But Moore's story soon unraveled with the help of an informer, an undercover cop and her own inability to keep her mouth shut. On Friday, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office arrested her on a charge of first-degree murder.
She already faced an accessory charge.
Detectives said Moore, 37, had a financial motive to kill the lottery winner. She secured control over $3.5 million of his assets within four months of meeting him, and Shakespeare had begun questioning her involvement with his money, authorities said.
On Saturday, a judge ordered Moore to be held in jail without bail. Moore stayed silent.
The probable cause affidavit supporting her arrest outlines how things fell apart for Moore, who spent months trying to convince the lottery winner's friends and family that he was still alive.
A key moment in her undoing came on Dec. 27. While eating dinner with Shakespeare's mother at a restaurant, Moore had a man call pretending to be Shakespeare, the report said.
Elizabeth Walker said the caller didn't sound like her son, who had not been seen since April. Detectives traced the phone number to a man named Gregory Todd Smith.
The next day, they set out to locate Smith and found him meeting with Moore in Lakeland.
During a subsequent interview, Smith said Moore paid him several hundred dollars to make phone calls. In addition to calling Shakespeare's mother, he also phoned a Polk detective to claim he had recently spotted the missing man alive in Miami.
Smith agreed to cooperate fully with law enforcement as an informer. It is unclear from the probable cause affidavit how Smith, who had been a friend of Shakespeare's, got linked up with Moore.
He met with her several times during the following weeks and recorded their conversations. According to the report, she asked him to deliver a letter she typed on Jan. 6 to Shakespeare's mother. Writing as the victim, Moore told Walker he was fine and questioned why she had not recognized his voice during their recent phone call.
Moore then asked Smith if he knew anyone who would admit to killing Shakespeare.
The informer introduced Moore to Lake Wales police Officer Mike Smith, who posed as a criminal facing a lengthy prison term and willing to confess to the murder in exchange for $50,000.
The undercover officer told Moore he would need to know where Shakespeare's body was to make his confession believable.
On Jan. 25, she gave the informer the .38-caliber revolver that she said had been used for the killing, the report said. Two .38-caliber bullets were found in Shakespeare's body during an autopsy.
Moore then brought the informer to the spot in Plant City where she said Shakespeare's body had been buried and devised a plan for it to be moved.
Armed with that information, Hillsborough and Polk sheriff's investigators arrived the next day with a search warrant and started to dig.
Times staff writer Jessica Vander Velde contributed to this report. Colleen Jenkins can be reached at email@example.com or (813) 226-3337.