(RED BUD, Ill.) — The last of the Mega Millions lottery winners are Merle and Patricia Butler, a married couple from Red Bud, Ill., and they came forward on Wednesday to claim their share in the biggest jackpot in lottery history.
The lifelong residents of Red Bud discovered they had won the night of the drawing with a $3 quickpick ticket. They watched the numbers be read on the news and Merle Butler, 65, jotted down the numbers on a pad. He went to his wallet to get the tickets and immediately noticed he had the Mega Ball number.
“I thought, ‘I might win something,'” Merle Butler said at the news conference. “The further I went, the more they matched. After I looked at it for a couple minutes, I turned to my wife and said, ‘We won.'”
“She kind of looked at me funny and I said, ‘No, we won.’ And then she started giggling,” Merle Butler said with a laugh. “She giggled for about four hours.”
The couple took the winning ticket to a bank lock box first thing in the morning and recalled a teller jokingly asking if they had come to lock up their winning ticket.
Merle Butler said he laughed and said lightly, “Yeah, I won and I have to put this thing away.” The teller laughed, not knowing he was telling the truth.
The couple were coy about how they would spend the money, saying they had a good team of financial advisers and lawyers that were helping them set things up.
The couple were required to have their identities revealed and appear at a news conference on Wednesday. Illinois officials say winners are required to come forward in order to prove to the public that the money is being rewarded.
The other two Mega Millions lottery winners were from Kansas and Maryland and those states do not require the winner to go public.
The newly-minted multimillionaires can decide between 26 yearly payments totaling $218.6 million or a one-time lump sum of $157.8 million.
The drawing for the world’s largest jackpot was on March 30. The winning numbers were 2-4-23-38-46 and the Mega Ball number was 23.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Chuck Johnston, CNN Newswire
Ray Sanchez, CNN Newswire