[The Guardian, Associated Press]
- Norwalk woman believes winning ticket was lost in laundry
- Thursday was last day to redeem prize from November draw
The winner of a $26m California lottery prize may have literally washed the chance of a fortune down the drain.
Store employee Esperanza Hernandez told the Whittier Daily News that a woman came in on Wednesday and told workers that she had put the ticket in her pants and it was destroyed in the laundry.
The store’s manager told KTLA-TV that surveillance video showed the woman who bought the ticket, and she is known to store workers.
A copy of the surveillance video was turned over to California lottery officials, the manager said.
The claim will be investigated, a lottery spokeswoman, Cathy Johnston, said.
Lottery officials say someone who believes he or she is a winner must complete a claim form. But if someone loses a ticket, they must provide evidence that they owned it, such as a photograph of the front and back of the ticket, the officials said.
The winning numbers were: 23, 36, 12, 31, 13, with the mega number of 10. The $26m prize can be taken in annual installments or as a $19.7m cash option.
The store that sold the ticket will receive a $130,000 bonus.
It’s uncommon for large jackpots to go unclaimed, officials said.
Four prizes of $20m or more haven’t been claimed since 1997, including a $63m prize from 2015, a lottery spokesman, Jorge De La Cruz, told the Los Angeles Times.