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Calaveras County Lottery-Winning Mother Killed In Apparent Murder-Suicide

VALLEY SPRINGS (CBS13) - A lottery dream come true turned into a nightmare for a local family.

A Calaveras County mother of four who hit the lottery with a $2 million scratchers ticket during the pandemic is now the victim of a murder-suicide. Police say her husband is the gunman, who also killed their one-year-old daughter.

CBS13 obtained photos showing 31-year-old Tiffani Hill surrounded by family and her precious children.

One photo also shows Hill alongside her husband, John Donato, who police say shot and killed Hill, and their 23-month-old daughter Leanne Donato, before shooting and killing himself.

The Valley Springs corner store where Hill bought the winning $2 million scratcher ticket in November 2020 still proudly advertises the winning purchase on the front door.

After the lottery win, Hill packed up and moved to Oklahoma with her family. The deadly encounter unfolded inside their Oklahoma home.

The Hill family attorney says Hill had described being in an abusive relationship, and she wanted to leave.

"Tiffany never reached out to me about anything about that nature, but I did speak with her mom and her mom, wants the message that Tiffany was trying to get away from it," Attorney Theresa McGehee said.

McGehee also questioned the role money played in the deadly attack.

"Could that have sparked that argument, and we'll never have any way of knowing," McGehee said. "But I do know there were times it caused conflict between them."

Hill's sister described her as a dreamer whose passion was her children and animals.

Her family is now working to get the three surviving children back to California. The lottery money will be put in a trust for them.

The family is seeking help for funeral arrangements and has set up a GoFundMe account.

A tragic end for a millionaire mother who had just hit the jackpot, never able to fulfill the dreams of her new financial reality.

Hill's surviving children are 11, 9, and 7 years old.

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