Caseville drowning victim had winning lottery ticket in his wallet

Man did not have a social security card to claim prize and was waiting for a new one to be sent in the mail
Published: Sep. 28, 2021 at 6:08 PM EDT
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HURON COUNTY, Mich. (WJRT) - A Caseville man wins a Club Keno jackpot, but never gets a chance to cash the winning ticket.

The body of 57-year-old Gregory Jarvis was found along a private beach along the Saginaw Bay Friday morning.

An autopsy confirms he drowned, but police were concerned after they discovered he had a winning lottery ticket in his wallet.

Jarvis tried to cash the ticket before his death, but he didn’t have a social security card that was in good shape.

He applied for another but before it arrived in the mail, he was found dead along that private beach.

“Very nice guy, he was here everyday,” says Blue Water Inn owner Dawn Talaski.

Jarvis was at the Blue Water Inn in Caseville on September 13th when he was playing the Club Keno add on game “The Jack”. He hit the jackpot.

“$45,000. Somebody said someone just won “The Jack” and he said, great, and someone asked him was it you and it was, so he was super excited,” says Talaski.

She says on the night of the 19th, Jarvis was back at the Blue Water, buying rounds of drinks, but at that time he still had not cashed the $45,000 ticket.

“He couldn’t cash it because he didn’t have a social security card at all, it wasn’t any good, so he applied for a new one,” she says.

That might he walked out of the Blue Water Inn and it was the last time anyone is believed to have seen Jarvis. Talaski felt something amiss the next day when he didn’t come into the bar.

“Sometimes he’s up north working, he wasn’t here all week and we thought, something is wrong,” she says.

She says Greg’s boss came into the bar the following Wednesday saying Greg had not shown up for work. Then on Friday morning, a resident along a private beach in Caseville called police saying a body had washed ashore near a boat. It was Gregory Jarvis’s boat.

“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, no foul play suspected,” says Caseville Police Chief Kyle Romzek.

Romzek says when his department learned about the winning lottery ticket, they did some further investigation.

“It did, 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, that took it off the table,” says Romzek.

The autopsy shows Jarvis had head injuries consistent with hitting his head on the boat and he drowned. Dawn Talaski says Jarvis had made some plans for the money.

“He was planning to take that money and go see his sister and his dad in North Carolina,” she says.

The Michigan Lottery Commission confirms that winners of prizes of more than $600 have to provide a photo identification and their social security card, the actual card, to collect their winnings.

Greg Jarvis’s relatives now have the winning ticket.

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