US to exhume Indian-American lottery winner's body

Published: 09th January 2013 12:55 PM  |   Last Updated: 09th January 2013 12:55 PM   |  A+A-


US authorities investigating the sudden death of an Indian immigrant businessman in Chicago who had won a $1 million lottery jackpot want to exhume his body to know if he was murdered.

Cook County Medical Examiner Stephen J. Cina has sent a sworn statement to prosecutors laying out why he wanted the body of Hyderabad-born Urooj Khan, 46, exhumed, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The state attorney's office is planning to file papers in civil court asking a judge to approve the exhumation of Khan's remains, the newspaper said citing spokesperson Sally Daly.

Khan, who owned a dry-cleaning business on Chicago's North Side, died suddenly in July 2012 just weeks after winning a million-dollar prize at a 7-Eleven store near his home.

Finding no trauma to his body and no unusual substances in his blood, the medical examiner's office declared his death to be from natural causes and he was buried at Rosehill Cemetery without an autopsy.

About a week later, a relative told the medical examiner's office to take a closer look at Khan's death.

By early December, comprehensive toxicology tests showed that Khan had died of a lethal amount of cyanide, prompting Chicago police and county prosecutors to investigate his death as murder.

While a motive has not been determined yet, police haven't ruled out that Khan was killed because of his big lottery win, according to a law enforcement source cited by the Tribune.

He died before he could collect the winnings - about $425,000 after taxes.

"It's always good if and when the case goes to trial to have as much data as possible," said Cina.

He said he did not believe additional testing would change the conclusion that Khan was a homicide victim, saying those comprehensive toxicology results were validated in the lab.

"Based on the information we have now and the (toxicology results), we're comfortable where we are right now," Cina said.

Both Khan and his wife Shabana Ansari, 32, were born in Hyderabad. Ansari moved to the US from India after marrying Khan 12 years ago. Their daughter, Jasmeen, now 17, is a student here.


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