California, Mo. Couple Become Millionaires Overnight

3 years 11 months 1 week ago Friday, January 03 2014 Jan 3, 2014 Friday, January 03, 2014 3:09:00 PM CST January 03, 2014 in News
By: Tori Chamberlain, KOMU 8 Digital Producer

CALIFORNIA - Derek VanLoo was playing a streak of Missouri Lottery Scratchers he got in his Christmas stocking when he decided to end the run. He ended up with a $3.1 million winning Lotto ticket from the Dec. 28 drawing.

"Give me tickets for whatever drawing is tonight," he told the clerk at Break Time in California. She explained that Powerball was $2 a ticket, so would he want two of those, or should she split them between Powerball and Lotto? "Split them," said VanLoo, thinking a shot at a big jackpot was better than the $4 Scratchers win he just traded in. And that's how he ended up the Missouri Lottery's 222nd Lotto jackpot winner.

VanLoo was checking his tickets the next day when he discovered the surprise. He and his wife, Dena, had just become the 390th Missouri Lottery-made millionaires. Knowing that the family had a full day of Christmas celebrations to attend, he slipped the winning ticket into his pocket and sealed his lips. Later that night, he broke the news to Dena, following a phone call from her mother. News was already getting about town that a winning Lotto ticket had been sold at Break Time. Dena's mother was wondering if they had it.

"I closed the door, sat her down, and said, ‘I've got something to tell you, and it's life-changing.'" He told Dena, "You know that Lotto ticket your mother just called about? It's us. We've got it." The VanLoos took their time, speaking with an accountant and financial advisor before claiming the ticket at Lottery headquarters on January 2. They plan to take the annuity, which will pay about $124,000 a year before taxes for the next 25 years.

Not much will change for the couple, who plan to keep working. The win is just fortunate security. "We'll be able to retire comfortably, and we'll be able to pay for our children's college education," noted Derek. "That's a welcome relief."  Lotto is a twice-weekly Draw Game with jackpots that start at $1 million. Break Time received a $5,000 bonus for selling the winning Lotto jackpot ticket. The winning Lotto numbers for Dec. 28, 2013, were: 6, 14, 15, 19, 23 and 40.

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