North Carolina Powerball winner comes forward

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- A 26-year-old mother of four -- one of whom has cerebral palsy -- has come forward as the buyer of North Carolina's winning Powerball ticket.

"I was screaming in the house. Telling my kids, we made it, and they ran away talking about, 'I scared them.' I don't have to worry about depending on nobody, I can do it all by myself. I can go back to school and make an even better life for my kids," Marie Holmes told WWAY-TV.

Click here to watch the interview.

Holmes' ticket is one of three sold nationwide that matched all the numbers for the $564 million jackpot. The other winners are in Texas and Puerto Rico.

Lottery officials said they heard from an attorney Friday who is representing someone who claims to have the winning ticket. That person was not planning to immediately come collect their prize.

"It's very exciting for us," said Van Denton, North Carolina Education Lottery Director of Communications. "I mean when you're working the lottery, you love seeing people have great luck and win prizes."

In the meantime, officials are encouraging that lucky winner to take their time and take care of that ticket.

"The most important thing is to sign the back of that ticket, keep it secure and safe," said Denton. "Once you sign it you establish your ownership of it and then keep it secure because if it were to disappear we won't be able to award that prize."

Denton said so far this year, lottery ticket sales have helped earn about $16.6 million for education in North Carolina.

There's a smaller prize to be claimed in Raleigh as well. A million-dollar ticket was sold at the Quality Mart on Beryl Road. There was a lot of buzz at that store Thursday. Many people were upset they didn't buy their tickets at the location.

"I work down the street. I wish I would have come here after work, but I didn't," said Powerball player Andre Burwell.

"[I'm] kicking myself now," said Powerball player Barbara Lockhart.

Quality Mart employees told ABC11 they knew something had happened early Thursday morning. Lottery officials came into the store around 6 a.m. to check the machine that prints out Powerball tickets.

"That is cool," said customer Andrew Edge. "Just never see it in Raleigh."

Holmes told WWAY she's talking to a financial advisor and getting her affairs in order as she collects her winnings.

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