A former lottery winner is behind bars after the death of a North Carolina woman. In 2017 Michael Todd Hill of Brunswick County won BIG on an Ultimate Millions scratch-off and pocketed $10 million. Now things have changed drastically for him, and he’s been charged with murder.
The 52-year-old was taken into custody in Southport on Tuesday and charged with murder by the Shallotte Police Department, reports The Associated Press. Hotel staff at the Sure Stay Hotel contacted authorities after they discovered the body of Keonna Graham, 23, around 11:30 a.m. last Monday.
The nature of Michael’s relationship with Keonna is unclear.
Additional details about Keonna’s death have not been released but her friends and family told AP that they’re reeling over her passing noting that she worked as a correctional officer and previously worked for a program for people with intellectual disabilities.
“She did all of this like it was second nature to her,” said Lee, who described her cousin as a generous, loving and adventurous woman who enjoyed hiking and bicycle rides.
Graham lived in Navassa, North Carolina, with her mother, LaTrinda Graham, and a 10-year-old sister, Zoey. Lee said Graham and her younger sister had an “unbreakable bond.”
“We are hurting. We are in pain,” Lee said. “Our family is devastated.”
Local news station WECT spoke with the manager at the hotel where Keonona’s body was found. Manager Vee Patel said Michael Hill checked into the hotel, alone, on Sunday morning, and said employees never saw Keonna enter the hotel. After a missed 11 a.m. checkout deadline, housekeeping discovered the young woman unconscious in the room and called 911.
“I think it’s horrible,” said Wilson. “I mean, he just won the lottery. I heard he just got married and you go and kill a young girl? A beautiful girl? I don’t understand.”
Hill is being held without bond. Despite his literary winnings he told authorities he couldn’t afford a lawyer and was appointed one by the court system.