A Michigan man suffered a particularly cruel fate when he won the lottery jackpot last week — only to die before he could collect his winnings.
According to reports, the body of Gregory Jarvis (pictured above) was found drowned on Friday, with the winning ticket — worth $45,000 — still in his pocket.
The 57-year-old hit the jackpot on September 13 at the Blue Water Inn while playing the Club Keno add-on game “The Jack.” Owner Dawn Talaski told ABC12 she was there when word got out around the bar that someone had won The Jack.
She recalled Jarvis confirming that he was the lucky winner, sharing:
“He was super excited he won. a very nice guy, he was here everyday.”
Jarvis reportedly tried to cash it in, but had to get a new social security card first, because his old card was so beat up.
The lotto winner returned to the bar six days later to buy everyone rounds, but told Talaski he still hadn’t collected his winnings. She noted:
“He couldn’t cash it because he didn’t have a social security card… it wasn’t any good. So he applied for a new one.”
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 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.”
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.
“At first, we were concerned about it but after the autopsy, and we interviewed people at the bar, he was well-liked around here, he was nice guy, so that was kind of ruled off the table.”
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.
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