Rumors on the identity of the Marylander who will share the $656 million Mega Millions jackpot fueled a steady flow of calls to lottery offices, officials said.
Lottery officials say they've heard just about everything they could imagine concerning the identity of the person who bought the winning ticket, one of three sold nationwide, for Friday's drawing at a 7-Eleven in Milford Mill, The Baltimore Sun reported Monday.
"Everyone says they know who the winner is," said lottery spokeswoman Carole Everett. "It's their cousin. It's a person who works at their doctor's office. It's the guy up the street who mows the lawn. We're not going to chase gossip."
The most persistent rumor, lottery officials said, arises from a New York Post story Monday picked up by other media outlets that said the Maryland winner was a McDonald's employee and it was not determined whether the winning ticket was bought as part of a work pool or if it was purchased by the winner alone, the Sun said.
The employee, identified as 37-year-old Mirlande Wilson of Baltimore initially told the Post she won the jackpot but then said, "I don't know if I won. Some of the numbers were familiar. I recognized some of [them]."
She also said she couldn't immediately produce the winning ticket but would contact lottery officials with it. As of Monday evening, lottery officials told the Sun they had hadn't heard from any winner and dismissed Wilson's story probably nothing more than unsubstantiated talk.
The Baltimore Sun said it repeatedly tried to contact Wilson, but were unsuccessful.
The mystery winner has up to 182 days after the drawing to claim the prize that will be divided among still-unidentified winners in Maryland, Kansas and Illinois.