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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / A news summary

Loan From 5-Year-Old Nets $35-Million Jackpot

March 24, 2000

OXNARD — There were 35 million reasons why Renee Cervantes decided not to report to work Thursday, and five of them started with her daughter's birthday party.

Those are the five dollars of birthday money the 24-year-old single mother borrowed from 9-year-old Jessica to test her luck on the lottery Wednesday night. It paid off with a $35-million SuperLotto jackpot.

"My mom called and said somebody from Oxnard won, and maybe it was one of us," said Cervantes. "The first ones started matching, and I began to think, 'Oh, maybe I did.' I showed them to my grandpa to be sure, and he was like 'Yeah, you won!' "

Cervantes had every intention of going to her medical assistant's job Thursday afternoon. But, there--dancing at the back of her mind--was all that money. So Cervantes, who works at Harbor Medical Center in Ventura, called in rich.

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