POST FALLS - Tammy Deaton has a message for Idaho's unknown $190 million lottery winner: Have mercy.
"The curiosity is killing us all," Deaton said Friday. "Just let us know."
One of the two winning Mega Millions tickets drawn on Tuesday night was purchased in Post Falls, a bedroom community of 26,000 people 20 miles east of Spokane.
So far, the holder of the ticket has not come forward. Idaho Lottery officials don't know who the person is, and refuse to identify which business sold the winning ticket.
The two winning tickets split $380 million, second-largest lottery jackpot in history.
People in Post Falls are buzzing about the winner, even though the person may not be a local, and may not yet know they are sitting on a fortune, said Deaton, manager of Jones Chevron on busy Interstate 90, which runs from Boston to Seattle.
"It's probably someone who drove through," Deaton said. "A lot of travelers buy tickets as they drive through states."
Jim and Carolyn McCullar of Ephrata, Wash., just 125 miles west of Post Falls, appeared at a press conference Thursday to announce they had won half of the jackpot.
The winners had to match five numbers plus the "Mega ball." The numbers were 4, 8, 15, 25 and 47, and 42 as the Mega ball.
It is not uncommon for people to wait before claiming lottery winnings. Many hire lawyers or financial planners first to make sure they don't make mistakes. Others don't check their numbers until later. The winner has six months to come forward.
Post Falls is a typical suburban community of housing developments, big box stores and fast food restaurants, with some lavish homes along the Spokane River. The most exciting news in recent memory was probably the opening of a Cabela's outdoor store a few years ago.
"What if they stopped at Cabela's, and then bought a ticket and don't even know jack about it?" wondered Sue Breesnee, who runs a State Farm insurance office in Post Falls. She said her husband talked her into buying $10 worth of tickets for the drawing. None was the winner.
She's not sure she would want to get that much money all at once.
"I think it would be a burden," Breesnee said.
"I would welcome the burden," replied Bernadette Williamson, who was visiting Breesnee's office.
Kevin Burns also said he would welcome the money. Burns, who was dressed as the Statue of Liberty and waving a sign in pouring rain trying to lure motorists into a tax preparation office, said he would probably keep a low profile if he won that much money.
"I would keep to myself, get my family taken care of," Burns said.
While many in town are wondering who the winner is, there are not many theories, said Angie Hoppe, who works at Pacific Wireless.
"I have not heard one thing," Hoppe said.
Mandy Menti, manager of a Thomas Hammer Coffee Roasters shop, said she lost interest when her ticket did not win.
"I don't really care," she said.
The $190 million would be paid in 26 annual installments. But the Idaho winner could choose to take an $81 million lump sum payment after state and federal income taxes are withheld.
The prospect of winning the enormous jackpot drew huge interest across the country as thousands of people lined up to buy tickets in the 41 states and Washington, D.C., where the lottery is held.
In March 2007, two winners, in Georgia and New Jersey, shared the richest prize - a $390 million Mega Millions jackpot.
Back in Post Falls, Deaton wondered if she should make a public appeal to the winner.
"Maybe we should put on our billboard: where is the million dollar winner?" she said.