Autopsy Shows Little About Illinois Lottery Winner Death
CHICAGO (AP) — An autopsy on the exhumed body of an Indian-born lottery winner in the U.S. who was poisoned with cyanide yielded no significant new clues about his death, a medical examiner said Friday.
No cyanide was found in Urooj Khan’s body tissue but that was most likely because cyanide breaks down quickly, Cook County medical examiner Stephen Cina said. He said nothing significant was found in Khan’s stomach.
Cina says Khan’s death is still considered a homicide because tests on fluids drawn from his body before he was buried revealed he had been poisoned.
Authorities have not publicly identified anyone as a suspect in Khan’s July 20 death, which happened just two days before the 46-year-old was to collect $425,000 in lottery winnings.
Authorities initially ruled that he died of natural causes, but his brother raised suspicions, leading to the further tests.
Authorities exhumed Khan’s body in January to gather more evidence in case charges are filed.
Khan moved to the U.S. from Hyderabad, India, in 1989, and over the years, he set up several dry-cleaning businesses. Despite having foresworn gambling after making the pilgrimage to Mecca in 2010, Khan bought a lottery ticket in June. He said winning the lottery meant everything to him and that he planned to use his winnings to pay off mortgages, expand his business and donate to a children’s hospital.
The night before he died, Khan ate dinner with his wife, daughter and father-in-law at their house. Sometime that night, Khan awoke feeling ill. He died the next morning at a hospital.
Khan died without a will, opening the door to a court battle. His widow and siblings fought for months over his estate, including the lottery check.
Khan’s wife, Shabana Ansari, and other relatives have denied any role in his death and expressed a desire to learn the truth.
Authorities remain tightlipped about whom they may suspect.