(Pierre) - The unknown Dakota Cash jackpot winner has been found.
Arlene Carter-Snyder, Piedmont, is the $73,237 Dakota Cash jackpot winner Lottery officials had been looking for after she left a Piedmont convenience store two weeks ago without knowing she’d won.
Carter-Snyder contacted the state Lottery office in Pierre Tuesday afternoon when she returned from a trip to Hawaii she received from one of her children.
While on the trip, her family called to tell her Lottery officials were looking for an older woman who left a winning ticket in the Elk Creek Valley Market in Piedmont. Carter-Snyder wasn’t sure it was her. Her husband Dennis was more certain, and prompted her to go to the store Tuesday afternoon. "I wasn’t going to go into the store until Wednesday, but he thought it was me and he told me to go in and get my tickets," she said. "I could’ve fainted, but I didn’t."
The lottery tickets she presented at the store on Tuesday were the tickets she purchased there on Friday, April 18 -- the day she left the store without knowing she had won. Store manager Lou Rose recognized her and also recognized the tickets as ones the Lottery was looking for to help identify the winner. "I took one look at her and thought, ‘Yes! It’s finally her and I’m not letting her go,’" Rose said.
Rose had Carter-Snyder call the state Lottery office from the store on the spot. On Wednesday, Lottery officials met with Carter-Snyder to ask detailed questions about the jackpot-winning ticket that would identify her as the ticket’s owner. "Arlene knew all of the details only the true ticket owner would know," said state Lottery director Clint Harris. "She had a very distinct playing pattern that combined numbers she always played and computer-picked numbers."
Carter-Snyder provided specific detail about the jackpot-winning ticket and her unique way of playing lotto games. She regularly played Dakota Cash and Powerball with a set of numbers she chose, but also bought a set of "quick pick" numbers for each game at the same time. The winning ticket included both sets of numbers. The "quick pick" numbers won the jackpot.
Carter-Snyder purchased the same combination of tickets and numbers when she stopped at the Elk Creek Valley Market on Friday, April 18, and during previous stops at the Piedmont convenience store.
"We’re very happy that we found Arlene and can award her the jackpot prize. This has never happened before where we had the winning ticket without a winner, and it’s turned out to be a fun story," Harris said. Harris praised store manager Lou Rose and store clerk Roxann Peterson for contacting the Lottery on the morning they discovered the unchecked ticket. "Lou and Roxann were wonderfully honest and helpful in trying to find the winner. They’re exactly the kind of people you want as lottery retailers, or employees or friends or neighbors," Harris said.
The Elk Creek Valley Market is receiving a $3,661 bonus for selling the winning ticket. Carter-Snyder is the 80th person to win the Dakota Cash jackpot since the game was introduced in 1993. The Dakota Cash lotto game is played only in South Dakota.