$1.5 Billion Mega Millions Jackpot Winner Has Still Not Stepped Forward 3 Weeks Later

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The winner of the history-making $1.5 billion Mega Millions jackpot has still not come forward, nearly three weeks after the Oct. 23 drawing.

The single winning ticket was purchased at the KC Mart in Simpsonville, South Carolina, according to state lottery officials, but who actually bought the ticket remains a mystery. The jackpot, initially estimated at $1.6 billion, ultimately ended up being worth $1.537 billion.

The winner has 180 days to claim their prize and they may stay anonymous if they choose to do so. In addition to South Carolina, lottery winners can keep their identities secret in Kansas, Delaware, Maryland, North Dakota and Ohio.

So-called lotto tourists stop by daily at the KC Mart where the winning ticket was sold to take pictures, the store's manager, Jee Patel, told Fox News.

“Everyone’s talking about it,” he said. “It’s a mystery.”

Once the prize is claimed, the retailer where the ticket was bought will receive $50,000. 

If the winner never claims the prize, all the money will go back to each state that participates in the Mega Millions lottery. Each state uses its unclaimed lottery money in different ways, according to the Mega Millions website, though the site does not specify how the money might be used.

The winner has two options when claiming the prize: cashing in for a lump sum of $877.8 million, or taking home the prize in annual installments over three decades. 

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