Authorities Investigate a Potential Murder-Suicide in Case Surrounding a Lottery Winner and Her Daughter


A woman who won more than $2 million in the California lottery last year and her 1-year-old daughter were found dead in their home in an apparent murder-suicide, KXII-TV reported.

The death of Tiffani Hill and her daughter, Leanne, is being investigated by the FBI.

Hill’s body was discovered in their Calera, Oklahoma, home on July 30 along with Hill’s husband, 42-year-old John Donato, KXII reported.

The seriously injured daughter was flown to Dallas from the scene for medical treatment but later died of a gunshot wound, the report said.

Police said Donato, whom Hill married a few months after winning over $2 million in the California lottery in November 2020, turned the gun on himself after shooting Hill and her daughter, KVOR-TV in Sacramento reported.

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“Could that have sparked that argument? We’ll never have any way of knowing. But I do know there were times it caused conflict between them,” attorney Theresa McGehee, who previously represented Hill’s family, told KXII.

McGehee said Hill’s relatives believe domestic violence was responsible for the murders, as Hill had reached out to her mother with plans to flee, the outlet reported.

“Tiffani never reached out to me about anything of that nature but I did speak with her mom. And her mom wants the message that Tiffani was trying to get away from it,” McGehee said.

While telling her family was a good first step, the attorney said, Hill should have gotten local professionals involved.

“The sadness is there are resources that people don’t reach out for,” McGehee said.

An estimated 11 murder-suicides happen each week in the U.S., according to the Violence Policy Center. A woman in Texas was killed by her husband in an alleged murder-suicide in May, while a pair of brothers reportedly killed their whole family in April, along with themselves.

Three other children were in the home at the time of the shootings, but all are now safe and in police custody, KXII reported.

Any leftover lottery winnings will be placed into a trust fund for the surviving children, who are 11, 9, and 7 years old.

The FBI, rather than local authorities, is investigating the murder because it occurred on tribal land. Hill was a member of the Choctaw Nation, an FBI spokesman told SFGate.

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Hill’s sister is asking for help paying for the burial expenses as well as future custody charges the family will incur as it attempts to take in the surviving children.

“She hopes somebody’s listening and will think this could be me next, this could be me and my child,” McGehee said.

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