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Record Powerball winner's wealth may have contributed to kin's death

PowerballPowerball: Record Powerball winner's wealth may have contributed to kin's death

Sdventeen-year-old Brandi Bragg was laid to rest on Friday, almost two years to the day after her doting grandfather came into the great wealth that some say was Brandi's misfortune.

The only granddaughter of Jack Whittaker, winner of the richest undivided lottery jackpot in U.S. history, was found dead earlier this week of what may have been a drug overdose.

Whittaker and others say her sudden access to vast wealth had brought new friends and dangerous habits.

"Since she won the lottery she had too much money," said Becky Layton, who once took care of Brandi when she lived with her grandparents. "I could point fingers all day long. The money is the root of it all, I would say."

Brandi had her own apartment and several vehicles, including a Hummer and a Cadillac Escalade--indications of a teen with too much money, Layton said.

"The very first few weeks after she won the lottery, they would get $10,000 out during the day. It was between all of them. Her mom would get out $5,000 and Brandi would only get out five more," Layton said.

Brandi was a quiet 15-year-old with a big smile when her already-wealthy grandfather won a $314.9 million Powerball jackpot on Christmas Day 2002. He took his winnings in a $113 million lump sum.

Her Dec. 5 death was the latest in a series of misfortunes that have befallen Whittaker's family since then.

Among them: Whittaker's home and his vehicles have been hit with a rash of break-ins. He was arrested twice this year for drunken driving, and a judge ordered him to check into a rehab center by Jan. 2. And in September, an 18-year-old friend of Brandi's, Jesse Tribble, was found dead in Whittaker's house from an overdose of cocaine, oxycodone and methadone. (Tribble once claimed that he had been hired by Whittaker to be Brandi's driver at $500 a day.)

Brandi's body was discovered Monday, wrapped in a sheet and plastic tarp, alongside a junked van at the home of her boyfriend, Brandon Crosier, near the town of Scott Depot. State Police believe she died at the home, and her boyfriend put the body outside.

"All I know is she OD'd and Brandon freaked out," Brandon's father, Steve Crosier, told reporters.

No charges have been filed. Investigators said they are awaiting toxicology results and have yet to disclose the cause of death. But on Thursday, Whittaker said: "All of the problems I have had are because of my granddaughter's friends, her drug-using friends. I'm going to find them and put them in jail. It's not her fault; it's the people who sold drugs because they weren't taken off the street."

While growing up, Brandi moved between her mother's home in Hinton, a former railroad community of 2,800, and Whittaker's home in Scott Depot. Her father died when she was young, and her mother at one point was treated for cancer.

During Friday's service in a Hinton funeral home, Brandi was remembered for the 17 things she loved, one for each year of her life. They included Whittaker, whom she called PawPaw, shopping, her cell phone, roses, and the rapper Nelly.

In an interview with The Associated Press last year, Whittaker said he regretted the toll the jackpot was taking on his family. Brandi had lost most of her friends, he said.

"They want her for her money and not for her good personality," he said. "She's the most bitter 16-year-old I know."

AP

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9 comments. Last comment 10 years ago by Maverick.
Page 1 of 1
Maverick's avatar - yinyang
USA
United States
Member #8242
October 29, 2004
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Posted: December 24, 2004, 7:11 pm - IP Logged

>> Brandi had her own apartment and several vehicles, including a Hummer and a Cadillac Escalade--indications of a teen with too much money, Layton said. <<

At 17 that's too much. However, I'm not saying that is connected to her death. RIP Brandi.

    LOTTOMIKE's avatar - cash money.jpg
    Tennessee
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    October 15, 2004
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    Posted: December 24, 2004, 7:12 pm - IP Logged

    my guess is that it was a cocaine overdose......

      urbossmanpimpin's avatar - batman49
      Dallas, Texas
      United States
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      September 28, 2004
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      Posted: December 24, 2004, 7:27 pm - IP Logged

      I can see if she had always had it like that but for her to go from the average teenager vehicle to a hummer and an escalade and her own apt.....wow. I know that I wouldn't have been able to handle it at the time......but thats every parent and grandparents dream......to provide things that you probably didn't have access to. Her ending was so sad.

        liberal47's avatar - Rowlf
        Holt MI
        United States
        Member #2244
        September 4, 2003
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        Posted: December 24, 2004, 8:39 pm - IP Logged

         

         

        Too bad Jack didn't put whatever money he was going to give her in a trust that she could recieve when she was thirty. And then only if she recieved an education that would give her a chance to manage it. No sdventeen year old should have access to that much money before she learns what relationships are all about. Looks like even Jack needs a mentor.

          kbcherokee's avatar - buffalo2
          Virginia
          United States
          Member #1712
          June 20, 2003
          1549 Posts
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          Posted: December 24, 2004, 9:04 pm - IP Logged


          "Rest in Peace Brandi"

          May the warm winds of heaven blow softly upon your house. May  the Great Spirit bless all who enter there. May your mocassins make happy tracks in many snows. And may the rainbow always touch your shoulder.

            lorcha1's avatar - dragon1
            New Member
            Westville
            United States
            Member #2784
            November 15, 2003
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            Posted: December 25, 2004, 5:08 pm - IP Logged

            Rest In Peace Brandi 

            I think it was a sad situation there, the girl had alot of money and no parents to guide her. No 15- 17 year old know's anything about the value of money untill they have to earn it and pay the bills. This girl had no Idea, It's a shame but It Is happening all over, Kids and Drugs don't mix!!! If they only knew what they are doing to there bodies, It will catch up to you later In life. I know I have been there. I 'm just sorry I didn't know It when I was a teen who thought he knew everything.

              st.germain's avatar - Tarlor
              chicago ill.
              United States
              Member #3600
              February 4, 2004
              337 Posts
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              Posted: December 25, 2004, 8:03 pm - IP Logged

               Revel In Paradise, B.B.      (R.I.P.)

                                                                         

                whodeani's avatar - lightening

                United States
                Member #2484
                October 9, 2003
                212 Posts
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                Posted: December 27, 2004, 1:04 pm - IP Logged




                But on Thursday, Whittaker said: "All of the problems I have had are because of my granddaughter's friends, her drug-using friends. I'm going to find them and put them in jail. It's not her fault; it's the people who sold drugs because they weren't taken off the street."








                I don't want to point fingers when there is a dead girl in this story, but  I will point the finger at Mr. Whittaker. To blame Brandi's death and all his problems on her friends and drug dealers is totally shameless. Jack Whittaker's inability to take a great opportunity that so few will ever get a chance to obtain and recklessly misuse it are the root of his problems. A 15 yr. old should never have been given access to that kind of money. I don't have any kids of my own, but if I had that kind of money my nieces and nephews would not get a dime of that money (directly from me) until they were at least 25 and spent at least a little time in the work force to know what the value of money is. Grow up Jack!!!!! There may be a lot people in there early 20's or younger who could have won that money and handled better than you did.

                  Maverick's avatar - yinyang
                  USA
                  United States
                  Member #8242
                  October 29, 2004
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                  Posted: December 27, 2004, 8:04 pm - IP Logged

                  Good point. Drugs do need money to be purchased. Also her own apartment, a Hummer and Cadillac Escalade points to Jack spoiling Brandi, to the point of living such a lifestyle.

                  I want to close with this: Any one of us could've been her. Thus is life. RIP Brandi.