Jan. 29, 2010 -- The remains found in a rural cement grave were identified today to be those of missing lottery winner Abraham Shakespeare, authorities confirmed to ABCNews.com.
The 47-year-old from Lakeland, Fla., hasn't been seen since April, even though he wasn't reported missing until November. His disappearance has churned up a cast of characters who, police say, may have been more interested in the $31 million he won in the lottery than in his life.
The remains were found Thursday after days of digging in the woods on a rural property in Plant City, Fla., and after heavy equipment had been brought in to break through a large piece of concrete. An autopsy today confirmed that the body was that of Shakespeare. The identity was determined through fingerprints, the sheriff's office said.
"There had been a 30-foot-by-30-foot concrete slab that had been poured," said Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Debbie Carter. "The human remains had been found about five feet under the concrete."
Shakespeare's family was devastated by the news.
"I just hope he didn't suffer,'' cousin Cynthia Johnson said, according to TampaBayOnline.com. "He was a good person. He was just used. They manipulated him because they know he didn't know any better.''
Authorities are not saying where the tip came from or even when it came in. Public records show the property off Highway 60 is owned by Shar Krasniqi, the man Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd has identified as the boyfriend of Dee Dee Moore.
Moore is the only person to have been named a person of interest in the case, though no charges have been filed. Moore's business, American Medical Professionals, is listed in Krasniqi's name.
Carter declined to comment on what exactly was found in the grave, only that it was clear the body had been there for a while.
Detectives and forensic experts were back on the scene today, she said, looking for more evidence. It has been deemed a homicide scene since Monday when the search began.
Police Warn That Person of Interest in Shakespeare Case Is a 'Con Artist'
Judd had some harsh words for Moore, who told the Florida newspaper The Ledger last year that her house had been searched and she was being questioned, even though she had only tried to help him flee a life that had gotten only more complicated ever since he won $31 million on a 2007 winning ticket.
She told the paper that Shakespeare had "planned on running" and that he had "planned on not coming back." She said the lottery winner was "tired of fighting child-support battles in court" and was sick of people "badgering him for money."
But two weeks ago, Judd said in a press release that they were preparing for the worst.
"Dee Dee Moore is a con artist, and if she tried to sell me anything, I certainly wouldn't buy it," Judd said. "Dee Dee Moore has cheated Abraham Shakespeare out of his money, and possibly his life."
According to Polk County authorities, Moore had made several attempts to make it look as if Shakespeare had been communicating with his family -- offering someone a $200,000 house in exchange for reporting a false sighting, sending his son $5,000 in cash for his birthday and sending text messages -- even though Shakespeare had already disappeared.
In February 2009, two months before Shakespeare was last confirmed to have been seen, Moore opened up a limited liability account with his money and gave herself signing authority, according to the Polk County Sheriff's Office. She then rewarded herself with $1 million, which she spent on a Corvette, a Hummer and lavish vacations.
The only arrest that had any connection to the case came earlier this week when Polk County authorities arrested Lakeland police officer Troy McKay Young, charging him with providing Moore with confidential information from law enforcement databases in exchange for compensation.
Family Devastated by Shakespeare's Disappearance
Shakespeare's mother, Elizabeth Walker, told WFTS in the days before the remains were found that the harassment of her son over his winnings was incessant.
"If someone asked him for help, he was always trying to help them," Walker said. "I had been with him in his car. They called him on his phone, and he trying to drive and trying to talk to them and they're asking him for money.
"He said his phone would be constantly ringing. Even when I called him, he'll talk a few minutes and then he'll say, 'Hold on, I got a call. I'll call you back.' And sometimes, he wouldn't call back. And he said he was just getting phone calls, one right after another one. People just asking for money."
Her son, she said, gave friends and family large amounts of cash and paid rents and mortgages, sometimes for people he barely knew.
Now police, armed with a growing stack of evidence, are charged with finding out who may have killed him.
"I hope," Johnson told TampaBayOnline.com, "they rot in hell."