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Woman says $26M California lottery ticket destroyed in wash

The store’s manager said that surveillance video showed the woman who bought the ticket, and she's known to store workers.

NORWALK, California — 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.

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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.