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Woman finds $23-million Lotto ticket left in car for months

November 1, 2012 |  3:53 pm

The winner of of a $23-million Super Lotto Plus jackpot had no idea she had won. Credit: California Lottery.

A Super Lotto Plus ticket worth $23 million was gathering dust inside a glove compartment for more than five months before the lucky winner realized it was there.

She can thank the California Lottery for an assist.

With only 25 days left to claim a life-changing prize, the winner, who has not been identified, realized she had the ticket when she saw her likeness in a newspaper story.

Lotto officials had released an image taken from surveillance video at Michael's Market & Liquor in Palmdale, where the winning ticket was purchased.

The woman’s ticket was set to expire Nov. 26 and was turned in Thursday to the California Lottery’s Inland Empire office, said spokesman Elias Dominguez.

Dominguez said the woman in the image had purchased the ticket for her mother, and her mother had put the ticket in her glove compartment where it remained for months. 

“They had no idea they had won,” Dominguez said, adding that the woman’s mother claimed the prize.

While it’s unusual for a major jackpot to go unclaimed, Dominguez said that a few years ago a $12-million winning ticket bought in Barstow was never turned in. Earlier this year, one of 29 winners who matched five of six numbers in a record-setting Mega Million jackpot never claimed the $227,955 prize.

And in August, Lotto officials went five months without hearing from the winner of a $52-million jackpot, Dominguez said.

That’s the first time the California Lottery sent investigators to a retailer and reached out for surveillance video, Dominguez said. The winner eventually came forward, and so Lotto officials tried the same strategy again to locate the Palmdale winner.  

The ticket would have expired 180 days after the drawing last May. Lotto officials have scheduled a news  conference with the winner for Friday afternoon.

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— Matt Stevens

Follow Matt Stevens on Twitter and Google+

Photo: The winner of of a $23-million Super Lotto Plus jackpot had no idea she had won. Credit: California Lottery. 

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