Mirlande Wilson made headlines last week after claiming to be a winner of the historic mega millions jackpot, but there was one factor missing in the simple equation: The winning lottery ticket.
First, the 37-year-old Maryland resident put herself forward as a winner, claiming she had been a part of a lottery pool at McDonalds. But when it came to actually reporting her winnings she held back, saying the winning ticket was one she purchased independently.
Wilson says she purchased her ticket at the 7-Eleven in Baltimore County -- where a winning ticket was actually purchased -- but when it came to presenting the ticket Wilson couldn't, which caused widespread speculation about the legitimacy of her story.
The record breaking $656 million Mega Millions jackpot yielded three winning tickets last week, but no one has come forward to claim the prize .They have until Sept.28 to do so.
Wilson and her attorney Edward Smith Jr. held a press conference on Thursday, where Smith told the media he has not seen the winning ticket in question and asked that Wilson and her family be left alone during this time.
Wilson has made several confusing claims about the winning ticket. She previously claimed to have hidden the ticket at McDonalds in Baltimore, where she works.
I left my ticket there, and it's somewhere safe that only I know about. I'm waiting for things to calm down so I can go back to McDonald's and get it. The people [that work at McDonald's] are too excited. I want their heads to cool down before I go back, she said.
An employee who participated in the pool told the New York Daily News that it was unlikely she had hidden the ticket in the restaurant. She could not have hidden any ticket here... She hasn't been back and she doesn't have any locker to hide it. She would not hide it in the bathroom or anything, she said.
Now Wilson says she has misplaced the ticket. She told an NBC reporter that she couldn't find the ticket. When the reporter asked if she has lost it, she laughed and said I've misplaced it.
The Maryland Lottery Director Stephen Martino said, the lottery winner needs to come forward in person to claim the prize. If there is a group of lottery winners they need to come forward together. Two other winning tickets were sold in Illinois and Kansas.
Martino told NBC that the winning ticket in Maryland was sold at approximately 7:15 p.m. on March 30 -- less than four hours before the drawing -- at the 7-Eleven on Liberty Avenue in Baltimore. Officials have tried to trace the winner through a surveillance tape, but an issue with the footage's time stamp has made it difficult to identify the winner.
Following the controversy surrounding the winning tickets, Martino has urged people in the winning locations to double check their tickets and make sure they haven't overlooked the winning numbers.
Martino advised people with the winning ticket to sign the back and keep it in a safe deposit in order to avoid loss of theft.