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Butterflies and a little scream for big Virginia winner

Melena Hill

Drawing Date: 1/9/2024

March 7, 2024 - For more than a month, a Mega Millions ticket worth $3 million was in a drawer in Melena Hill’s nightstand, and the Portsmouth, Va., woman didn’t realize it.

She bought the ticket for the January 9 drawing using Easy Pick, allowing the computer to randomly select the six numbers on her ticket. When the winning numbers were drawn, she ended up matching the first five numbers and missed only the Mega Ball number. That would normally win a $1 million prize. However, she spent an extra dollar for the Megaplier when she bought the ticket. That extra buck tripled her prize to $3 million.

When she finally checked the winning numbers more than five weeks after the drawing and realized she’d won big, it was an amazing moment. “My stomach had butterflies. I screamed a little bit!”

She bought the ticket at Murphy USA, located at 6261 College Drive in Suffolk.

The winning numbers in the January 9 drawing were 12-15-32-33-53, and the Mega Ball number was 24.

Mega Millions drawings are held Tuesday and Friday nights at 11 p.m. The odds of matching the first five numbers in Mega Millions are 1 in 12,607,306. The odds of matching all six numbers to win the jackpot are 1 in 302,575,350.

All Virginia Lottery profits go to K-12 education in Virginia. Ms. Hill lives in Portsmouth, which received more than $16.4 million in Lottery funds for K-12 education last fiscal year. In Fiscal Year 2023, the Lottery raised more than $867 million for K-12 education, making up approximately 10 percent of Virginia’s total K-12 school budget.