DEARBORN, Mo. (AP) — 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 announcing that Mark and Cindy Hill, of Dearborn, held one of two winning tickets for the nation's biggest Powerball jackpot.
"It's really going to be nice to spend time — not have to work — and be able to take trips with our family," Cindy Hill, a former office manager laid off in June 2010, said in the statement.
Her husband, Mark, is a mechanic at the Hillshire Brands meat processing plant in St. Joseph. The couple adopted a daughter from China five years ago and are now considering a second adoption with their winnings, according to the statement. They also plan to help other relatives, including their grandchildren and nieces and nephews, pay for college.
The Hills will split the nearly $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 drawing, the jackpot had rolled over 16 consecutive times without someone hitting the jackpot.
Lottery officials' announcement that the Hills had one 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 a winning ticket had been sold at a Trex Mart gas station and convenience store on the edge of town, and the Hills' names circulated quickly. While the Hills did not speak to reporters, friends and relatives identified the couple as the winners.
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.
"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 statement from the lottery didn't indicate whether the Hills planned to take their payout as a lump sum or in annual payments. Mark Hill does have his eye at least one thing: a red Camaro.
"I was just telling my daughter the night before, 'Honey, that probably never happens," Cindy Hill said about their odds of hitting the jackpot.
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.