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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 January, 2004, 18:12 GMT
Women argue over 'lost' jackpot
Elecia Battle
Ms Battle's report spurred others to search for the ticket in the snow
Two women in Ohio are in hot dispute over a $162m lottery win - after one said she had lost the jackpot ticket.

Elecia Battle appealed for help after saying she had dropped the winning receipt in a snow-covered car park.

But it was Rebecca Jemison who turned up at the Ohio lottery offices holding the stub and saying the money was hers.

Lottery officials said they believed Ms Jemison was the rightful holder, but Ms Battle's lawyer has indicated she may still try to claim the prize.

Ms Jemison, a hospital telephonist, said she checked the numbers "five or six times" to make sure that she truly had the combination to scoop the 11-state jackpot.

She then called her mother, an accountant and a lawyer, as well as telling her husband.

'No luck'

Ms Jemison, who has a 12-year-old daughter, said she became angry at Ms Battle's assertion that she had bought and dropped the winning ticket, and so had decided to claim the prize immediately.

"One thing I want to make clear: luck had nothing to do with it. It was truly a blessing, truly a blessing," she said, adding that she had played the same numbers occasionally over several years.

Days earlier, Ms Battle had filed a police report saying she had picked the winning numbers but believed she must have lost the ticket when she dropped her handbag in the snow outside a convenience shop.

The report was made two days after the shop was identified as having sold the sole set of winning numbers for the Mega Millions prize.

"I'm praying that someone finds the ticket, brings it forward and gets rewarded - and from there we all live happily ever after," she said.

Police said she was distraught when she reported the loss.

They said she knew the winning numbers, which matched the birthdays and ages of members of her family.

People spent the night searching the snow-covered car park after Ms Battle, 40, announced the loss of the ticket.

Her lawyer had said she would seek to recover the ticket if it was found, arguing that it was lost property still belonging to her and had not been abandoned.

Ms Battle's lawyer has not been available for comment since Ms Jemison's claim was accepted.

The BBC's Ian Pannell
"Two women and one big bonanza"


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