Gregory Jarvis won $45,000 playing the Club Keno add-on lottery game “The Jack” just weeks before drowning in Caseville, Mich. The 57-year-old winner reportedly had the lottery ticket in his wallet when his body washed up along a private beach in Huron County.
According to reports, Jarvis hadn’t cashed the ticket in because he needed proper documentation. The Michigan Lottery Commission requires winners of prizes of more than $600 to provide photo identification and a physical copy of their social security card in order to collect their winnings.
Gregory Jarvis was waiting for a replacement social security card in the mail when he drowned – it wasn’t clear how he lost his original copy. It has been reported that his family now has the winning ticket, though it wasn’t clear whether they had cashed it in as of Wednesday afternoon.
Reports claimed that Gregory Jarvis had played the lottery game at the Blue Water Inn in Caseville on Sept. 13. He hit the jackpot which had been worth $45,000. The owner of the Inn, Dawn Talaski told reporters that Jarvis was a “very nice guy” and claimed that “he was here every day.”
“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,” Talaski explained. But she told reporters that “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.”
Gregory Jarvis reportedly came into the Blue Water Inn a week later, and had bought a few rounds of drinks. But at that point, he had still not cashed in the ticket. Then he stopped showing up and Tasaki became worried.
According to the Blue Water Inn owner, the night of Sept. 19 was likely the last time anyone saw Jarvis. Talaski admitted that when he didn’t show up the next day something felt wrong.
“Sometimes he’s up north working, he wasn’t here all week and we thought something is wrong,” she admitted but then explained that Jarvis’ boss eventually showed up at the bar to say he hadn’t been to work. On Friday, Sept. 24, Jarvis’ body washed up on a private beach in Caseville. The body was near a boat, which was later identified as Gregory Jarvis’ property.
Police Chief Kyle Romzek told reporters that they suspect it was an accident. “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,” Romzek admitted. And while it seemed suspicious that he died having just scored a $45,000 jackpot, authorities said that “no foul play suspected.”
“We were concerned about it (the lottery win) 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,” according to Chief Romzek.
Dawn Talaski told reporters that Gregory Jarvis “was planning to take that money and go see his sister and his dad in North Carolina.” The family members were not identified by name, though it was reported that they were in possession of the winning ticket.
The Michigan lottery game Jarvis played, named “The Jack” is a Club Keno add-on game that allows players to add to their Club Keno wager for $1 per draw. With the add-on, players receive eight easy pick numbers to match the numbers drawn for the Club Keno. Prizes range from $1 to the jackpot, which goes down after someone wins it.
The jackpot always starts at $10,000, according to the Michigan Lottery Commission but it grows when players buy tickets. Winning the jackpot requires players to match all eight numbers. Lottery statistics indicate that games are played at over 10,500 Lottery retailers across Michigan.