Lottery Winner Arthur Neal Found Dead : Fatally stabbed in vacant Detroit house

Lottery Winner Arthur Neal Found Dead : Fatally stabbed in vacant Detroit house

Arthur Neal, Missing Detroit lottery winner found dead, The day before he disappeared Dec. 20, he won $20,000 in the Michigan Lottery, his family said. But there’s no record of him ever cashing a lottery ticket, police and lottery officials said.

“We have been providing information to the Detroit Police Department on this, and we have no record of Mr. Neal claiming a prize of that size, or any prize for that matter,” Michigan Lottery spokesman Jeff Holyfield said. “I can’t tell you whether or not he won, but I know he never cashed in any tickets.”

When relatives reported Neal missing, they told police his house had been ransacked.

“That was what was initially reported, but when it was investigated, the house didn’t look like it had been ransacked,” Detroit police officer Adam Madera said Wednesday.

Neal’s relatives declined to comment.

Nobody answered the door Wednesday at Neal’s tiny white bungalow on Trinity Street in northwest Detroit, about three miles northwest of where his body was found.

Two snow-covered trucks were parked in the large lot next to the home, as was a large flatbed trailer bearing panels of wood, while firewood was stacked on a shelf near the rear.

Wedged in a slat in Neal’s wrought-iron security door was a small card advertising the “Book of Mormon.” A flier from DTE Energy bearing the message “We want to help you make affordable bill payments today” hung from the doorknob.

While the snowed-in street was quiet Wednesday afternoon, Neal’s neighborhood, in the notorious Brightmoor district, has for many years been among the city’s most dangerous.

Neal is one of 28 homicide victims in the city so far this year, up 75 percent from the same period in 2014.

In the six weeks since he was reported missing, within a mile radius of his home there have been four reported shootings, 36 assaults, four street robberies at gunpoint, a carjacking, 20 burglaries and four vehicles stolen.

Still, Neal didn’t hide inside his house like many seniors are forced to do, said neighbor Rico Hill, 55.

“I always saw him out working in his yard,” Hill said. “When I first moved here five months ago, I was out working on my house and he came up and introduced himself. He was a good guy, stayed busy all the time.”

The $20,000 lottery prize Neal reportedly won represents about two-thirds of the average annual income in his ZIP code, 48219, according to U.S. Census figures. The ZIP code has lost 18 percent of its population since 2000, reflected by the vacant lots and burned-out houses, one of which is across the street from Neal’s house.

After Neal was reported missing, his granddaughter Lawanda Marshall told several media outlets she wished the news of the lottery winnings hadn’t seeped out, because it made him a target.

It’s unknown if the winning lottery ticket was a motive in Neal’s disappearance. police said.

Capt. Eric Decker, head of the Detroit Police Homicide Section, said investigators haven’t identified a suspect, although he remained confident they would.

“The case is going in the right direction,” he said.