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Winner of California Lottery Comes Forward After Five Months to Claim $23 Million

Adam Gault/Thinkstock(PALMDALE, Calif.) -- The lucky winner of California’s SuperLotto Plus Jackpot has finally come forward to claim her $23 million, just 25 days short of forfeiting the prize.

“We had our winner come forward and claim the $23 million prize,” confirmed California Lottery spokesperson Alex Traverso to ABC News. “She said she just never checked the ticket.”

The woman’s daughter snapped a photo of her mother in the newspaper Thursday morning — the photo was taken from the surveillance video at the store where the winning ticket was sold — and sent her the picture.

“When her daughter sent her mother a picture of the newspaper this morning, she just went back out to the car and the ticket was sitting right where she left it. Pretty amazing.”

The winner filed her claim Thursday and, according to officials, should be receiving her check in four to six weeks. However, it’s been a long five months for California Lottery officials who had been searching for the mystery winner, who purchased the winning ticket at Michael’s Market & Liquor in Palmdale, Calif.

Before the individual came forward, liquor store manager Ben Sadi told ABC News he remembers the day the woman bought the ticket.

“I know what she looked like and I recognize who she is,” said Liquor store manager Ben Sadi.

Sadi’s store opened on May 1, and four weeks later, on May 28, the winning ticket was pulled.

The ticket matched all six numbers – 14, 7, 26, 31, 23 and Mega 5. After the liquor store learned they had sold the winning ticket, they posted signs outside the store along with photos from surveillance of the alleged winner.

“We have signs outside that say, ‘The millionaire made here,’ with the check that she won, the $23 million,” he said.

Sadi’s store will receive a bonus of one half percent for selling the winning ticket, which amounts to $115,000.

“I was really really happy, really extremely happy. Our first store, we hit the lotto,” said Sadi.

If the money was not claimed by Nov. 26, 2012, the prize would have been transferred to California schools.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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