The Palmdale woman's daughter recognized her from a newspaper photo of the supposed winner, captured on the liquor store's surveillance camera, according to the San Bernardino County Sun ().
More details about the woman's identity were to be announced Friday, lottery officials said.
"She just never checked the ticket," lottery spokesman Alex Traverso told the newspaper. "Her daughter took a picture of her photo in the newspaper and sent it to her mother, she went to her car and found the ticket."
The woman bought the ticket in May, and with 180 days to claim the prize, she only had until Nov. 26 to cash in.
If it hadn't been claimed, the millions would have gone to California schools.
A $52 million jackpot winner in Fremont was found in August by a similar public appeal.
"He and his wife saw a picture of him on the news that night and came in the next day to claim the prize," Traverso said.
The winning ticket was sold at Michael's Market and Liquor, where store manager Ben Sadi says the sale has been a stroke of good luck for the store's owners. The store received a bonus of one half percent of the prize, or $115,000, for selling the winning ticket.
"We sold the ticket the third week after our official day of opening the store," said Sadi.
Since news of the winning ticket got out, business has picked up a lot.
"There are a lot of people that drove a long way to come buy tickets here," said Sadi.
In the last fiscal year, officials say more than $20.5 million in cash prizes went unclaimed.