The Mega Millions mystery deepened in Maryland on Thursday, as a woman who said she had the winning ticket now tells News4 that she seems to have misplaced it.
When News4's Shomari Stone asked Mirlande Wilson if she was going to claim her "winning" ticket, she replied, "If I find it... I misplaced it."
Wilson, a 37-year-old mother of seven, told News4's Shomari Stone that she hid the ticket in a Baltimore-area McDonald's where she works.
The state's lottery board said no one has stepped up to claim their share of the record-setting $656 million prize.
Maryland Lottery director Stephen Martino said the winner has until Sept. 28 (182 days) to claim it. The winner has to do so in person, and doesn't have to make their identity public. Two other winning tickets were sold in Illinois and Kansas.
"Our status is no different than where we were Saturday morning," Martino said. "No one has represented to us that they have the ticket."
Martino said the winning ticket was sold at approximately 7:15 p.m. on March 30 -- less than four hours before the drawing -- at the 7-Eleven on Liberty Avenue in Baltimore. It was a Quick Pick ticket, and was the only one purchased at that time.
Martino said that officials have looked at surveillance tape at the 7-Eleven, but that there is an issue because the timestamp on the tape does not exactly match the timestamp of the lottery ticket machine, so they can't be exactly sure who bought the ticket from that video.
Because of all of the rumors swirling around who possesses the ticket, Martino is urging people who bought tickets at that location to check their tickets again to make sure they don't have the winner. He said he hopes that people haven't thrown out their tickets thinking that someone else won, only to have had the winning ticket all along.
Wilson told News4's Shomari Stone this week that she purchased the winning ticket. On Wednesday, Wilson's attorney, Edward Smith Jr., gathered the media in his office but wouldn’t let his client speak. Wilson, a Haitian immigrant, wants the reporters to go away.
“That’s really it,” Smith said, “to ask you to go back to your places.”
Wilson reportedly was responsible for a McDonald’s employee pool of Mega Millions tickets but says the winner wasn’t part of the pool. Wilson sought legal counsel, saying she was afraid someone will go after her for her money.
Whoever has the winning ticket will be cashing a big check. If the winner takes the annual payment option, he or see will get $18.6 million a year. If the winner takes a cash payout, he or she will take in $158 million, or a little more than $105 million after taxes.
Martino has advice for whoever holds the winning ticket: Sign the back of it. Safeguard it in a safe or safety deposit box. And get advice in the form of an attorney and financial adviser.