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.