A $50 million jackpot winner in Hamilton, Ontario was found Tuesday after she lost her lottery ticket nearly a year ago. Kathryn Jones couldn't remember where or how she'd lost the Lotto Max ticket, but the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Commission went on a hunt to find the winner of the unclaimed funds.
The $50 million jackpot of Hamilton went unclaimed for some time, but officials received 435 inquiries about the money with no good results. So they decided to find the winner themselves while reviewing the other claims.
"OLG has significant investigative tools and techniques to help determine if a prize claim is valid," they said in a press release.
Part of the OLG's months-long investigation was locating where the ticket was purchased. They determined that the Lotto Max ticket was bought at a Shoppers Drug Mart in Cambridge, where Jones works as an engineer. After that, they used video surveillance to determine that hers was the only ticket bought in that location at that time.
OLG also matched her credit card statements to their own internal accounting and tracking systems to quell any doubt that she could be the winner. They revealed that Kathryn was the winner at a Tuesday press conference.
"I kept thinking this is unreal. It must be a mistake," the 55-year-old mother said. "As you can imagine this has been a very weird and wonderful journey."
"I feel almost as though I have been struck by lightning twice because first to win is pretty incredible, but then to lose a ticket and then to have OLG find me and take the initiative to actually contact me is also pretty incredible," she said.
Jones paying for her ticket with a credit card made it "a lot easier" to find her," Mike Hamel, head of OLG corporate investigations, said. Jones usually pays for the lottery tickets with cash.
Jones will have to wait 30 days to receive her winnings. She still can't find the lost ticket.