HINTON, W.Va. – The nation's largest lottery winner blamed his granddaughter's recent death on a drug overdose and said he wants the friends he says gave the drugs to her to be put in jail.
Jack Whittaker's (search) comments came as a medical examiner was preparing a toxicology report on Brandi Bragg, 17, whose body was found earlier this week wrapped in a plastic tarp on property owned by a boyfriend's father.
"All of the problems I have had are because of my granddaughter's friends, her drug-using friends," Whittaker said. "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."
The father of Bragg's boyfriend, Steve Crosier, told reporters soon after the discovery of the body that his son Brandon and Bragg were friends and had dated. "All I know is she OD'd and Brandon freaked out," he said. He later said he didn't know how Bragg died.
No charges have been filed.
Putnam County Prosecutor Mark Sorsaia, who is investigating Bragg's death, declined to comment on a possible drug involvement. Bragg's Dec. 5 death is being treated as a missing person case that ended in death, not a homicide.
Whittaker, who won a $314.9 million Powerball (search) jackpot on Christmas Day 2002, is now preparing for a Christmas Eve funeral for his only granddaughter.
"She was my world, you understand that?" he said.
Whittaker remarked in an interview last year that people had started to befriend his granddaughter for her money rather than her personality. Since his lottery win, she had moved into her own apartment and drove several vehicles, including a Hummer and a Cadillac Escalade.
"She had too much money," said Becky Layton, who once cared for Bragg when she lived with her grandparents. "I could point fingers all day long; the money is the root of it all I would say."
In September, an 18-year-old friend of Bragg's was found dead at Whittaker's home following a drug overdose. Whittaker was out of town at the time.