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06 Jan 2004 16:51
Someone turned in a valid winning ticket for a $162-million lottery jackpot, the Ohio Lottery said on Tuesday, a day after a Cleveland woman claimed she lost the ticket outside the store where it was sold.
Ohio Lottery spokesperson Mardele Cohen said the winner would be revealed at a morning news conference. Cohen would not comment on whether the winner was Elecia Battle, the woman who filed a police report saying she lost the ticket last week.
About 30 people with flashlights searched for the ticket on Monday night outside the suburban Cleveland convenience store after the police report Battle filed became public.
The Ohio Lottery says the ticket is a bearer note, which means whoever turns in a valid ticket is legally entitled to the winnings.
Cohen said Monday night that the bearer status makes the ticket “like cash”.
But Battle intended to make a case that the winning ticket from the 11-state Mega Millions game is her lost property, said her lawyer, Sheldon Starke.
“This is a question of lost property, not abandoned property,” he said earlier on Tuesday.
“If there is one type of property that is not presumed to be abandoned, it’s money ...
Starke did not immediately return a call later in the morning seeking comment.
Battle (40) filed a police report saying she dropped her purse as she left the Quick Shop Food Mart last week after buying the ticket. She said she realised after the drawing last Tuesday that the ticket was missing.
The Ohio Lottery said the winning ticket was sold at the store in South Euclid, about 25km east of Cleveland.
Police had said Battle was in tears when she filed her report on Friday and did not hesitate when asked to write down the winning numbers.
“We don’t believe that she’s fabricating it, but there’s no real way of knowing other than going on her word,” police Lieutenant Kevin Nieter said.
Nieter had said information Battle knew about when the ticket was bought and how the numbers were picked make her story credible.
She told police that the numbers—12, 18, 21, 32 and 46 and Mega Ball 49—represented family birthdays and ages.
The Ohio Lottery said the winning ticket was sold to someone who chose the numbers rather than letting the computer make the choices.
Battle’s husband, Jimmy Battle, works two jobs. The couple have seven children, some from previous marriages.
If the jackpot hadn’t been claimed by June 27, the money would have gone to Ohio and 10 other states that participate in the game.—Sapa-AP
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