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Angeles County | Santa Clarita

Lotto Winner Fears for Life, Store Owner Says

April 11, 1998

The elusive winner of a $34-million share of Wednesday night's SuperLotto has yet to claim his prize because he fears for his life in the limelight that goes with being a jackpot winner, according to the store owner who sold him the winning ticket.

"He's scared," said Manhye Hahn, owner of Valencia Liquor in Santa Clarita. "He is a young guy and he's scared that somebody wants to get the money and kill him. He doesn't want to show up in public."

She said the winner's true first name is Leonardo and that he is 32 and single. Television news crews caught on camera Thursday night a man who came to have the ticket verified at the liquor store on Lyons Avenue in Newhall, then quickly left.

He would give his name only as Sal and was presumed to be the absent winner.

But on Friday, Hahn said Sal was the brother-in-law of the real winner, known to her only as Leonardo. She said Leonardo sometimes comes to the store to buy tickets and that the winning ticket was among $5 worth of Quik Picks he had purchased at her store.

The other two winners--Yolanda Starr of Ventura and a syndicate of 22 people in Bakersfield--have long since registered their tickets and basked in instant fame.

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