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$26M California lottery ticket destroyed in wash, woman says

NORWALK, Calif. — The winner of a $26 million California Lottery prize may have literally washed the chance of a fortune down the drain.

The winning SuperLotto Plus ticket for the Nov. 14 drawing was sold at an Arco AM/PM convenience store in the Los Angeles suburb of Norwalk. Thursday was the last day to redeem it.

Nobody did.

Store employee Esperanza Hernandez told the Whittier Daily News that a woman came in 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’s 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, 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, 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, officials said.

Four prizes of $20 million or more haven’t been claimed since 1997, including a $63 million prize from 2015, lottery spokesman Jorge De La Cruz told the Los Angeles Times.

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