Sometimes striking it rich comes with its own curses, which appears to be the case for one ill-fated Arkansas man. Matthew Seth Jacobs was a survivor of the Deepwater Horizon oil explosion that killed 11 people and injured 17 others in 2010. It was a catastrophe that is considered by many to be the single worst environmental disaster in the history of the United States after it resulted in a massive oil spill. Matthew was injured in the explosion, and was later part of a class-action lawsuit. By 2012, his winnings from the suit had left him reasonably wealthy. However, luck just wasn’t on his side. He was killed in a car crash in 2015 at just 34 years old.
When Matthew received his settlement in 2012, he met a real estate agent named Donna Peterson Herring. She helped him buy a home not far from her own house, which he purchased using the money from his settlement. Donna also introduced Matthew to her family, convincing him to hire her teenage daughter, Alex, as his housekeeper. Matthew was engaged when he met Donna, but after the engagement ended, Donna pushed Matthew to date Alex, despite an age gap of 16 years. The pair became engaged, but ultimately split.
After his death, Matthew’s relatives, including his brother, Lance Reed, and 17-year-old son, were unable to locate a will. Yet Donna produced a will she claimed she had founds several days later. When opened, the will stated that Matthew wanted to leave almost his entire estate, which amounted to $2 million, to Donna’s daughter Alex. Matthew’s own son only received $50,000. Another odd thing: Matthew was dating someone else at the time of his death, so why would he leave his estate to his ex? Equally suspicious was Lance’s claim that Donna suggested they forge a life insurance policy for his brother, which Lance said he refused.
Now, Donna is accused of forging the will a mere six days after Matthew’s death, and is being sued by his family. She is also accused of using the fraudulently acquired funds to buy herself a new Lexus. Donna’s daughter admitted that she knew what her mother had allegedly done, and Donna’s sister and brother-in-law, whose signatures appeared on Matthew’s fake will as witnesses, are suspect as well. Her brother-in-law admitted signing the document after Matthew had died.
Authorities also say that Donna claimed to “have found and subsequently destroyed descendant’s actual last will and testament after his death.” It really makes you wonder: did Donna only befriend Matthew to gain access to his winnings? Was her entire friendship with him, up to his death, all a lie? That kind of cunning is simply chilling.