10/31/2013 12:17 pm ET Updated Oct 31, 2013

Karen Gentry Redeems Winning Virginia Lottery Ticket 4 Hours Before It Expires (VIDEO)

If Karen Gentry had waited a few more hours, she would be $100,000 poorer.

The Alexandria, Va., carpet saleswoman purchased her winning Virginia Cash 5 ticket back in May but put the slip of paper in a box in the kitchen and forgot about it, according to a Virginia Lottery press release.

“I always check the numbers, so I’m amazed I missed it,” Gentry told lottery officials.

The unclaimed prize sat for months, and the 180-day deadline for lottery winners to alert officials drew near. Luckily, Gentry happened to catch a news story about the missing winning ticket and arrived at the Lottery’s Northern Virginia Customer Service Center just four hours before the ticket would've expired.

Gentry is not the only one to risk losing out on a windfall. In fact, winning tickets go unclaimed all across the country. Just this month, a $1 million Powerball ticket expired in Indiana, the Associated Press notes. In accordance with an Indiana statute, the money from the unclaimed Powerball ticket was shared among three state funds.

In Iowa, officials are still trying to unravel the mystery of a $14.3 million lottery jackpot that was initially claimed in 2010 and then abandoned, ABC News reports. The bizarre story is still under investigation.



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