A Michigan man suffered a particularly cruel fate when he won the lottery jackpot, only to die before he could collect his winnings.
According to reports, the body of Gregory Jarvis was found drowned on Friday, with the winning ticket worth $45,000 still in his pocket.
57-year-old Jarvis was at the Blue Water Inn in Caseville on Sept. 13 when he won $45,000 playing Club Keno, a Michigan Lottery game, owner Dawn Talaski said. But Jarvis couldn’t immediately collect the winnings because he didn’t have a Social Security card, which was necessary to get the prize, Talaski said.
Jarvis was last seen at the bar buying drinks for friends on Sept. 19, but he still was waiting for a card and hadn’t received his money, Talaski said.
Jarvis applied for a replacement social security card, but then he disappeared the following week.
Tragically, the man’s luck ran out when he walked out of the bar that night — as it’s believed to be the last time anyone saw him alive. Talaski explained she grew suspicious when Jarvis didn’t return to the bar over the next few days. She recalled:
“Sometimes he’s up north working, he wasn’t here all week and we thought, something is wrong.”
Talaski was certain something was wrong the following Wednesday when Jarvis’s boss came into the bar explaining he had not shown up for work.
Two days later, a resident found a body washed ashore on a private beach in Caseville beside a boat. Both the boat and the body were Jarvis’.
Caseville Police Chief Kyle Romzek told the outlet that detectives believe the death was the result of a simple accident, sharing:
“We are thinking that he was tying up his boat, slipped and fell, hit his head, and that’s where he ended up in the water.”
“At first, we were concerned about it (the lottery ticket), but after the autopsy, and we interviewed people at the bar, he was well-liked around here, he was nice guy, that took it off the table,” Romzek added.
The officer added that no foul play is suspected, but admitted that suspicions were initially raised after investigators found the unclaimed winning lotto ticket still folded in his wallet — so the case was investigated further.
The Michigan Lottery Commission confirmed that Jarvis’s relatives have been giving the winning ticket — which is who he was planning on spending it on in the first place, according to Talaski. She said:
“He was planning to take that money and go see his sister and his dad in North Carolina.”
Such a frustrating loss. Our hearts go out to Jarvis’ loved ones at this difficult time.