Man identified as $1.7B Powerball jackpot winner – but his neighbors can't find him

The Golden State with the golden ticket.

The California Lottery has revealed that a person has come forward to claim the massive $1.765 billion Powerball jackpot win from October – the second-largest jackpot prize in history.

Theodorus Struyck was named as the representative of a group of winners that purchased the winning ticket at a store in Frazier Park in Kern County ahead of the Oct. 11 draw. The mountain town has a population of about 3,000 people.

It is unclear how many people are part of the group, but Struyck was described by locals as a 65-year-old man who lives only 500 yards from the store, a family run business called Midway Market.

"He adores his grandchildren," Struyck’s neighbor Mary Dreier told the KGET. "He’s just really pleasant to have around. I noticed yesterday he put up that Posted: No Trespassing sign."


Another neighbor, Rick Kotnik, told the outlet he often has long talks to Struyck about fishing, but he has no idea where his neighbor is now.

"If I knew I wouldn’t tell you," Kotnik laughingly told KGET.

The winner's name and the name of the store are required to be made public under state law. In other states such as Arizona, Georgia and New Jersey, big lottery winners are permitted to stay anonymous.

Midway Market received a $1 million bonus check for selling the lucky ticket. 

Nidal "Andy" Khalil, the co-owner, said he initially didn’t believe the store sold the winning ticket.

"I did not believe it at first and then I started getting calls and text messages from friends and realized it was true," Khalil previously told Fox 11.

The win is second only to Edwin Castro’s $2.04 billion haul scooped in November 2022, also in California. Castro took home a $997.6 million lump sum – before taxes.

California Lottery players have won, or co-won, the top four-largest  jackpots in Powerball history dating back to 2016 – all worth more than $1 billion, the California Lottery said. 

The October jackpot win came during the 36th draw for that Powerball sequence, a run that raised an additional $119.5 million for public schools, the California Lottery said.

"Announcing big wins like this gives all of our players the chance to hope and dream that they could be next," said Harjinder K. Shergill Chima, the director of the California Lottery Director.

"But it also gives us an opportunity to shine the spotlight on our terrific mission, which is to generate additional, supplemental funding for public education in California. So, it’s students of all ages across the state, who win everyday thanks to our players, our retail partners who sell these fun games, and our hard-working staff here at the Lottery. This is an exciting day for all of us!"

Meanwhile, the Mega Millions jackpot now sits at an estimated $875 million after no tickets matched the winning numbers during Friday's drawing.

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