Lottery winners accept their checks

April 18, 2012 at 2:39 PM

RED BUD, Ill., April 18 (UPI) -- The last of the three March 30 Mega Millions lottery winners came forward Wednesday and accepted their over-sized cardboard check for $218 million.

Merle and Patricia Butler of Red Bud, Ill., near St. Louis, were presented with the check in a ceremony at Red Bud City Hall, which represented a one-third share of the largest multistate lottery jackpot in history.

Red Bud had been rife with speculation among locals and reporters who descended on the small town the past few weeks as identities of the winners remained a mystery after it was reported a local convenience store had sold a winning ticket but no one had come forward to claim the prize, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

The Butlers spent the time working with a St. Louis attorney and a financial planner, and keeping the secret from all but a few relatives and close friends, the Chicago Tribune said.

The other winning tickets were sold in Maryland and Kansas.

Merle, 65, a retired insurance company computer analyst, and Patricia, 62, a former programmer/analyst for the investment company Edward Jones, have been married for 41 years, took the lottery payout in a lump sum of $110,517,449 after taxes and have no intentions of leaving their hometown, population 3,700.

"We've lived here a long time and we don't plan on doing anything else," Merle Butler said.

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