A 29-year-old mother of two and former bank employee from northern Idaho has claimed the remaining half of a $380 million Mega Millions jackpot, Idaho Lottery officials and others said Wednesday.
Holly Lahti, of the small town of Rathdrum, will split the second-largest lottery jackpot in history with Jim and Carolyn McCullar of Ephrata, Wash.
The McCullars appeared at a news conference last Thursday to announce they'd won half the jackpot, or $190 million.
Lahti wasn't on hand for Wednesday's announcement in Boise and officials released few details about her, saying she wished to stay out of the spotlight for now.
"She's requested that the media respect her privacy and not attempt to contact her until she's prepared to speak to you," Lottery Director Jeff Anderson said at a news conference.
He referred to Lahti as a "delightful young lady" and said he tried to persuade her to go public because there are "a lot of curious people out there." But he said she has a lot to get in order first.
"We expect she'll be coming forward shortly," Anderson said.
Public records show Lahti lives in Rathdrum, a town of about 7,000 in the scenic Idaho Panhandle. She had worked since 2007 as a customer service representative at Inland Northwest Bank in nearby Post Falls, but she resigned Monday, said Holly Poquette, the bank's chief financial officer.
Poquette works in Spokane, Wash., and does not know Lahti. But the manager of the Post Falls branch, Sussana Spencer, called Lahti an "amazing person."
"She's going to do wonderful things with the money," Spencer said. She had no details.
Lahti's estranged husband, Josh Lahti of Rathdrum, said Wednesday he did not know Lahti was the winner of the huge Mega Millions prize until he was told by a reporter. But he said she plays the lottery often.
He said the two have been married about a decade but are separated, and they have two daughters, ages 10 and 12.
Meanwhile, word of Rathdrum's newest multimillionaire began to spread through the fast-growing town about 25 miles northeast of Spokane.
Travis Herron, who works in a local tobacco shop, said he bought 10 tickets for the Mega Millions drawing but didn't win anything.
Herron, 23, said he didn't know Holly Lahti, but added that if he had won $190 million, "I wouldn't want to be talking either, the days and times the way they are."
Although Mega Millions is played in 41 states, including New York, and Washington, D.C., the two winning tickets were purchased by people living in small towns just 125 miles apart in the Inland Northwest. Ephrata, Wash., has about 7,500 people.