The time limit for redeeming the winning $26 million California Lottery Super Lotto Plus ticket has expired, and although there are rumors that a Norwalk woman bought the ticket, no one showed up to claim the prize.
Employees at the AM/PM gas station on East Imperial Highway in Norwalk say a local woman bought the ticket from their store but was unable to turn it in because she left it in her pants and sent it through the washing machine.
The winning numbers from the Nov. 14 drawing were: 23, 36, 12, 31, 13, and the mega number of 10. The $26 million prize can be taken in annual installments or as a $19.7 million cash option.
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Jorge de la Cruz, spokesman for the California State Lottery, confirmed a winning ticket had been sold.
Thursday was the last day to redeem it.
Avid lottery players in Norwalk were surprised to hear about the mishap.
“It is possible that maybe they lost the ticket and did not even realize it. A lot of people buy their tickets and put them in the bag, and they don't even realize that they won the lottery," Arturo Vázquez, who plays the lottery, said.
Sergio Vázquez, who won a $100,000 prize in 2013, says he made sure "the ticket was secure."
What should you do to prevent this from happening to you? The California Lottery recommends that you keep proof of the ticket.
"Take a picture of the front and back of the ticket so if it is damaged or lost, you have proof," de la Cruz said.
For the woman who allegedly bought the $26 million winning ticket, it seems that it is too late to claim the prize. But the mystery has left many Norwalk residents imagining what they would have done with the millions.
“Wow, make my whole family, my kids, my grandchildren and my entire family happy,” one Norwalk resident said.
Since there was no winner, the $19.7 million cash payout will go to the California Department of Education.
The owners of the AM/PM store have already received $130,000 for having sold the winning ticket.