Inside tragedy of lottery winners Mack Metcalf and his wife who were found dead 3 years after taking home $34m jackpot

A couple who won a multi-million dollar jackpot were found dead a few years after taking home the big prize.

In 2000, Mack Metcalf and his estranged wife, Virginia G. Merida, scooped $34 million from a jackpot lottery ticket.

A couple who won $34 million on a lottery ticket in Kentucky died just three years after raising their money


A couple who won $34 million on a lottery ticket in Kentucky died just three years after raising their moneyPhoto credit: Getty

Metcalf and Merida quickly raked in their earnings and began spending on high-value items The New York Times.

Not only did the couple have to worry about weekly bills and paying their apartment rent on time, but they probably felt that everything was within their price range.

After their divorce in 2001, both Metcalf and Merida began living with their newfound wealth in eerily similar ways.

For Metcalf, a southern Kentucky mansion modeled on George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate and several vintage cars fulfilled his desires.

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Merida bought a Mercedes-Benz and decided to live in a mansion near the Ohio River with several cats.

However, after a brief period of relaxation due to the new inflow of money, the lottery winners quickly got into trouble.

Marilyn Collins, Metcalf’s first wife, is suing him for $31,000 in unpaid child support, while a former girlfriend also received $500,000 while the lottery winner was allegedly intoxicated.

In Merida’s case, she said her brother had been molesting her for some time, and a former boyfriend died of a drug overdose at their Ohio River mansion, the New York Times reported.

Just three years after their win in 2003, both Metcalf and Merida died within a short span of time.

Metcalf, 45, died of complications from alcoholism and the body of 51-year-old Merida was found partially decomposed in her bed by her son, the Louisville News Agency reported wave 3.

Merida’s death was the result of a suspected drug overdose, and police determined she had no suspicion of a crime at the time.

It was reported that Metcalf had run into multiple run-ins with the law leading up to his death.

The couple accidentally won the $34.1 million in 2000 with a three-dollar ticket they bought at a rest stop in Florence, Kentucky, about 12 miles from Cincinnati, Ohio.

Metcalf and Merida opted for the lump sum option, a move a lottery lawyer told The US Sun as a big mistake made by 90 percent of winners.

Forty percent went to Merida for a total of $13.6 million, with $20.5 million left for Metcalf.

Those closest to the couple argued that their deaths were because large sums of money had flowed to people suffering from personal problems and lacking experience in managing such a sum.

“If he hadn’t won, he would have worked like normal people and maybe had 20 years left,” Collins told the New York Times.

“But when you put that kind of money into the hands of someone who’s struggling, it just helps them kill themselves.”

David Huff, the buyer who later purchased the Mount Vernon-esk home from Metcalf’s estate, expressed a similar opinion.

“It was a classic case of a person who never had anything and didn’t know how to deal with it,” Huff told WAVE 3.

“I think when he got the money it got worse.”

For more related content, check out The US Sun’s exclusive coverage of why a lottery attorney says there are two key wins drains.

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The US Sun also reports on a financial advisor’s advice on what lottery winners should do as soon as they receive their money.

People close to the winners claimed the couple didn't know how to handle the funds and both allegedly suffered from drug problems


People close to the winners claimed the couple didn’t know how to handle the funds and both allegedly suffered from drug problemsPhoto credit: Getty

Zack Zwiezen

Zack Zwiezen is a USTimesPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Zack Zwiezen joined USTimesPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing

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