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February 13, 2015

N.C. woman says she bought a winning ticket in $564 million Powerball

The 26-year-old mother of four is the first winner to come forward

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 North Carolina mother of four says she bought one of the three winning tickets sold in the estimated $564.1 million U.S. Powerball lottery but state lottery officials said no winning ticket had been presented to them as of Friday.

Television news station WECT reported the numbers on 26-year-old Marie Holmes' ticket matched those from the Wednesday night jackpot drawing, the third largest in the game's history and one of the largest lottery jackpots ever in the United States.

North Carolina lottery officials said they were still waiting on Friday for the buyer of the winning ticket sold at a convenience store in the coastal town of Shallotte to come forward.

"We have not had a winning ticket presented to us," said lottery spokesman Van Denton.

In a television interview, Holmes, who lives in Shallotte, said she has four children and had been looking for work. She said she was grateful for the chance to provide more for them.

"I don’t think it’s really hit me yet," she said. "I guess when it hits my account, that’s when it’s really going to hit me."

Owners of the winning tickets purchased at a food mart in Princeton, Texas, and a gas station in southern Puerto Rico have not come forward.

The Powerball rolled over for nearly three months, pushing the jackpot beyond the half-billion mark until three tickets matched the numbers 11, 13, 25, 39 and 54, lottery officials said. The Powerball number was 19.

The winners will split the jackpot and can select a lump-sum cash payout or opt to take annuity payments over 29 years, before taxes.

The biggest Powerball jackpot awarded by the Multi-State Lottery Association was $590.5 million in May 2013 to the holder of a single winning ticket. The association's Mega Millions lottery awarded a top prize of $656 million three years ago.

Powerball tickets are sold in 44 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The odds of winning the Powerball jackpot are one in 175 million.