Lottery winners tend to have grand plans for their new-found funds. Fancy cars, houses, and leaving debt in the rear-view mirror tend to be their priorities, along with lavish vacations. But in January 2011, when Holly Lahti won $190 million on a Mega Millions jackpot, none of that seems to have made her list.
Instead, she vanished.
Lahti disappeared from the public eye, disconnecting her phone numbers, giving no public statements, quitting her job, and quietly moving away from her small town in Rathdrum, Idaho.
Soon after Lahti's win, media reports revealed that the 29-year-old mother of two had an estranged husband, Josh, who'd abused her in 2003 and was pursuing (what he deemed to be) his share of her new pile of cash.
"That's awesome!" Josh told the Associated Press when he initially learned of Holly's winnings. "I won't have to pay child support!"
Now more than a year later, the woman described by former neighbors as "kind, friendly, and shy" has begun to emerge, and she seems to be adjusting to life as a millionaire.
Her first public appearance, reported the Coeur d'Alene Pess, her hometown newspaper, was a Relay for Life fundraiser at Inland Northwest Bank, her former employer.
"She is an avid dog lover and adopted a wonderful lab mix that is now one of the loves of her life," said Suzanna Spencer, a manager were Lahti used to work. "Her goal has been to get settled down before her girls' high school years. She has a good head on her shoulders and has gotten things lined up in her life."
ABC News reported earlier that Lahti's husband may have headed to California to go to college, but that has not been confirmed.
Earlier on HuffPost: