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February 23, 2015

North Carolina mother claims share of $564 million Powerball jackpot

Lottery Money
Powerball Nati Harnik/AP

A customer inspects the Powerball ticket she purchased at a U-Stop store in Lincoln, Neb., Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015.

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - A single mother said she is eager to give her four children a more comfortable life after North Carolina lottery officials confirmed on Monday that she had presented one of the tickets worth a third of the $564.1 million U.S. Powerball jackpot.

Dressed in a beige pant suit, Marie Holmes, 26, smiled as confetti fell at a Raleigh news conference where a lottery official handed her a ceremonial big check.

"I’m still processing it," Holmes said of owning one of three winning jackpot tickets sold for the Feb. 11 drawing. "It’s not hit me yet."

Her ticket was purchased at a convenience store in the coastal town of Shallotte, near the South Carolina border. Holmes chose the $127 million lump-sum payment, which will total $87.9 million after taxes, according to a lottery statement. 

The other winning tickets were purchased in Puerto Rico and Princeton, Texas, in what was the third largest Powerball jackpot and one of the largest lottery jackpots in the United States.

A winner who wished to remain anonymous has come forward in Puerto Rico but no one has presented the winning ticket in Texas, according to the Multi-State Lottery Association.

Winners have 180 days to claim their prize. Powerball tickets are sold in 44 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Holmes, who in the past has worked jobs in retail and fast food, said she only played the lottery when she had spare cash. She is still sorting out how to spend her windfall, she said.

Her initial plans are to travel overseas and send her children, including a 7-year-old son with cerebral palsy, to better schools.

"I'm definitely moving," she said.