EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

World/National News

November 3, 2012

Grandma claims $23M lotto prize just in time

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (AP) — For more than five months — while Julie Cervera struggled to pay a $600 electrical bill, feed her family and keep the cable company from shutting off her service because she couldn’t pay — she was a millionaire without knowing it.

Meanwhile, her $23 million lottery ticket languished forgotten in the glove compartment of her car.

On Thursday, someone texted her a photo of her daughter, Charliena Marquez, buying the winning ticket for her at a Palmdale Liquor store. The photo had been released by lottery officials searching for the mysterious winner of the May drawing.

“I put my 99-cent glasses on, and I had to put two pairs on to see it,” said Cervera, 69, of Victorville. She recognized her daughter in the grainy photo, but she still couldn’t read the caption.

“I thought she robbed a bank because I couldn’t see the words on top,” Cervera said with a laugh. “So I put on a third pair (of glasses) and it said she won. I was like, ‘No way!’”

Back in May, mother and daughter were driving home together when Marquez felt queasy and asked her mother to pull over so she could buy a bottle of water.

“She always gets carsick,” Cervera said.

Cervera asked her daughter to buy her a lottery ticket and dug in her purse trying to find a dollar. Marquez protested but eventually used her own money to purchase a Super Lotto Plus ticket for her mom.

“I put it in my new car. It’s an old car but it’s new to me. It’s been there for five months,” Cervera said Friday at a news conference with her three adult children and half a dozen grandchildren lined up behind her.

But when she finally looked in the glove compartment, the winning ticket was right where she left it. It was set to expire Nov. 26, so the California Lottery went looking for the winner.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest News
World/National News

Latest U.S. News
Four Rescued From Crashed Plane Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Russell Simmons, LL Cool J Visit Youth at Jail Raw: Obama Gets Hug From Special Olympian US, UN Announce Deal on Gaza Cease-Fire Despite Moratorium, Detroit Water Worries Remain Faith Leaders Arrested at DC Deportation Protest Family Dispute Cripples Northeast Grocery Chain CDC Warns Travelers Amid Ebola Outbreak US Stocks Plunge, Wiping Out July's Gains Demoted Worker Shoots CEO, Kills Self Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit Raw: 2 Hurt in NY Trench Collapse House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot
Latest World News
Gaza Truce Unravels; Israel, Hamas Trade Blame Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Today in History for August 1st Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene US, UN Announce Deal on Gaza Cease-Fire US Warns Against Traveling to Ebola-hit Areas Raw: Deadly Taiwan Gas Leak Explosion Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Raw: Smoke, Explosions Fill Gaza Skyline Today in History for July 31st Raw: 16 Killed in Gaza Market Strike Raw: Guinea Rap Concert Stampede Kills 33+ Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Graphic Video: 15 Killed at Gaza UN School Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Floodwaters Ravage Villages in Romania
Photos of the Week