$26 million winning lottery ticket lost in load of laundry

Woman may have outside chance of collecting jackpot if she can prove she bought ticket

A California woman who believes she won $26 million in the state lottery missed the deadline to cash in on the prize this week after leaving the ticket in her pants and washing it in a load of laundry.

Thursday was the last day to redeem the winning ticket in the SuperLotto Plus drawing from Nov. 14, but the day came and went with nobody claiming the jackpot.

Lottery officials confirm the winning ticket had been sold at the Arco AM/PM convenience store in Norwalk, where a woman claiming to be the winner came in Wednesday and frantically told store employees that she accidentally destroyed the ticket in the wash.

Despite the misfortune, there might be hope the woman could still claim the prize.

Someone who loses a ticket must complete a claim form and provide evidence they owned it, such as a photograph of the front and back of the ticket, the California Lottery said.

There is a surveillance video verifying the woman bought the ticket, which has been turned over to officials, a store manager told local news station KTLA-TV.

Lottery spokeswoman Cathy Johnston said the claim will be investigated.

The winning numbers 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.

If the prize isn’t claimed, the $19.7 million will go to California public schools.

The store that sold the ticket will receive a $130,000 bonus.

It’s uncommon for large jackpots to go unclaimed.

Four prizes of $20 million or more haven’t been claimed since 1997.

In 2019, the winner of a $14.6 million lottery jackpot in Arizona never showed up to collect the prize, officials said.

Perhaps the biggest lottery prize ever forfeited in the U.S. happened in August 2015, when someone won $63 million in the SuperLotto Plus jackpot in the California state lottery but never claimed it. The deadline for that prize expired in February 2016.

Information provided by The Associated Press was used to supplement this report.

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