Two weeks after drawing the winning numbers, the $590 million jackpot still has not been claimed.
According to the Inquistr, the winning ticket was sold at a Publix supermarket in Zephyrhills, Florida, a small town where everyone "knows each other." Residents suspect that it would have taken a few days for the lucky winner to grasp their earnings and mentally prep for the inevitable media storm.
"Being in a small town, everybody knows everybody and in some cases, everybody’s business," says long-time Zephyrhills News community newspaper writer Dave Walters. "It’s hard to keep a secret in this town, but this is one of the biggest mysteries we’re had in a long, long time.”
The residents of Zephyrhills, which hosts a population of 13,337, have probed several possibilities including the winner not looking at his/her ticket (unlikely) or has lost it (more likely). They have even tried guessing the identity of the jackpot ticketholder, including a Publix employee or even a random cousin.
"Anybody who did not show up for work on that Monday was considered to be the lottery winner," Walters said. "If you had the flu and didn't show up for work, everyone thought you were the lottery winner. If you took a personal day or a sick day, they thought you had won the lottery."
Last week, three winners were drawn to split the $50 million jackpot. According to Powerball regulations, the winner has 60 days from the drawing date to redeem their prize as a lump sum and 180 days to claim it in lifetime payments. If the winner doesn't come forward, the funds go to the state.
Photo Credit: Getty Images