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Mega Millions Mystery Solved

Last Updated: Friday 3rd November 2006, 13:35 pm

The sole winner of the $55 million Mega Millions jackpot for 17 October has finally come forward - and officials have announced that the lottery fortune has been claimed by a lady originally from Laos.

Xia Rattanakone and her husband Sommay, who now live in Seattle, are the winners of one of the bigger jackpots in Mega Millions history, though the $55 million win still falls well short of the record-breaking $363 million won in May 2000.

Xia was orphaned as an infant and has often thought about returning to Laos to try and locate her blood relatives. The $55 million Mega Millions win will enable her to do that in some style, and it will also enable Sommay to retire.

Mega Millions is a US lottery that is played in California, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Texas, Virginia and Washington. Winners are given the option of receiving their prize in the form of an annuity or as a lump sum. Xia and Sommay opted for the lump sum, so they will receive around $23 million after deductions and taxes.

Xia bought the winning ticket using the Mega Millions "Quick Pick" option, which selects numbers at random. Then, the day after the Tuesday 17 draw, Sommay brought the winning numbers home and told his wife they would check their tickets after his nap. Xia couldn't wait that long, and woke him with her scream of delight.

Understandably, the win took some time to sink in, so the couple didn't come forward to claim their prize straight away, but paused to catch their breath. After working hard to establish themselves, Xia and Sommay can now relax for a change. They are planning to use some of their win to buy a new home, prepare for the education of their children and to support the Catholic orphanage which was once Xia's home.

We offer our heartiest congratulations to Xia and Sommay, and we wish them the very best of luck as they visit Laos to look for Xia's family.

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