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November 30, 2012

Missouri mechanic, his wife named Powerball winner

DEARBORN, Mo. —  

A 52-year-old Missouri mechanic and his wife claimed their share Friday of the record $588 million Powerball jackpot.

Lottery officials sent a statement Friday announcing that Mark and Cindy Hill, of Dearborn, held one of two winning tickets for the nation's biggest Powerball jackpot.

The Hills will split the $588 million prize with whoever holds a winning ticket sold at a convenience store in suburban Phoenix. No one has come forward yet with the Arizona ticket, lottery officials said.

The $587.5 million payout, which represents the second-largest jackpot in U.S. history, set off a nationwide buying frenzy, with tickets at one point selling at nearly 130,000 per minute. Before Wednesday's winners, the jackpot had rolled over 16 consecutive times without someone hitting the jackpot.

Lottery officials' announcement that the Hills had won only confirmed what many residents in Dearborn, a town of about 500 about 40 miles north of Kansas City, already knew. Lottery officials said Thursday that one winning ticket had been sold at a Trex Mart gas station and convenience store on the edge of town, and Mark Hill's name circulated quickly. While he and his wife did not speak to reporters, friends and relatives identified Mark Hill as the winner.

Myron Anderson, pastor of the Baptist Church in nearby Camden Point, said he heard Thursday that the Hills had won the huge lottery prize. Anderson said he has known Mark Hill since they attended high school together and that the couple have older children and a younger elementary school-age daughter.

"He's a really nice guy, and I know his wife, and they have this nice little adopted daughter that they went out of their way to adopt," Anderson said. Funeral services for Hill's father were at the Baptist church, but the family attends church elsewhere, he said.

"I hope it's good news for them," Anderson said. "I've heard awful horror stories about people who get all that money in their lap and how everybody treats them, and if you don't mind me saying, I mean just the fact that the press is going to be after them."

Kevin Bryan, a lifelong Dearborn resident, said the only other local lottery winner he could remember was a farmer who won about $100,000 in scratch-off game years ago "and bought himself a combine."

The winning ticket sold in Arizona was purchased at a 4 Sons Food Store in Fountain Hills near Phoenix, state lottery officials said.

In a Mega Millions drawing in March, three ticket buyers shared a $656 million jackpot, the largest lottery payout of all time.

Hill and the holder of the Arizona winning ticket have numerous decisions ahead, including how to accept their new wealth. The cash payout from the overall jackpot has been estimated at about $385 million, or about $192.5 million for each ticket. The winners can take their jackpots in lump sums or annual payments.

 

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