Someone is either frantically searching for ,  or totally unaware, that they have a Hot Lotto ticket worth $16.5 million. Iowa Lottery C.E.O., Terry Rich, says the confirmed winner was sold three months ago. Rich says it may’ve been someone passing through Iowa.

Rich says it was sold on northeast 14th street near Interstate 80, so they don’t know where the person was headed. He says it was sold right during the holidays, so they are encouraging anyone who had relatives come through the area to check to see if they have the ticket. It is possible that someone has the ticket and is making some plans before turning it in, but Rich says that seems less likely than other scenarios.

He says it’s not unusual for people to wait a little while to cash in a big winner as they check with their accountant and lawyer first, but he says this time period is longer than normal. Rich says a review of Iowa Lottery records indicates it’s probably a better bet that the person who bought the ticket doesn’t know it’s a winner.

Rich says no one has checked the ticket at a lottery terminal to see if it is a winner, so he says it may be sitting on a car dash somewhere or in a pile of tickets in a drawer. There is still a lot of time before the ticket expires, but Rich says they want to make sure it doesn’t get overlooked.

The person with the winning ticket has 365 days from the time of the drawing to turn it in, so we are about one quarter of the way through. Rich says the longer the ticket goes unclaimed, the more they’re worried the ticket might have been misplaced.

The ticket for the December 29th winning Hot Lotto ticket has the numbers: 3-12–16-26-33 and Hot Ball 11.