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Wife questioned in lottery winner death

Illinois LotteryIllinois Lottery: Wife questioned in lottery winner death
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The widow of a West Rogers Park, Illinois, man who died of cyanide poisoning weeks after winning a $1 million lottery jackpot was questioned extensively by Chicago police last month after the medical examiner's office reclassified the death as a homicide, her attorney said on Tuesday.

Authorities investigating the death of Urooj Khan also executed a search warrant at the home he had shared with his wife, Shabana Ansari, according to Steven Kozicki, her attorney. Ansari later was interviewed by detectives for more than four hours, answering all their questions, the attorney said.

"She's got nothing to hide," Kozicki said.

The mystery surrounding Khan's death has sparked international media interest.

Cook County authorities said Tuesday that they plan to go to court in the next few days for approval to exhume Khan's remains at Rosehill Cemetery. In a telephone interview Tuesday, Medical Examiner Stephen J. Cina said he sent a sworn statement to prosecutors laying out why the body must be exhumed.

"I feel that a complete autopsy is needed for the sake of clarity and thoroughness," Cina said.

Sally Daly, a spokeswoman for the state's attorney's office, confirmed that papers seeking the exhumation would be filed soon in the Daley Center courthouse.

Khan, who owned a dry cleaning business on the city's North Side, died unexpectedly in July at 46, just weeks after winning a million-dollar lottery 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 without an autopsy.

About a week later, a relative told authorities 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, leading the medical examiner's office to reclassify the death a homicide and prompting police and prosecutors to investigate.

While a motive has not been determined, police have not ruled out that Khan was killed because of his big lottery win, a law enforcement source said. He died before he could collect the winnings — about $425,000 after taxes and because he decided to take a lump-sum payment.

According to court records, Khan's brother has squabbled with Ansari over the money in probate court. The brother, Imtiaz, raised concern that because Khan left no will, his 17-year-old daughter from a previous marriage would not get "her fair share" of her father's estate. Khan and Ansari did not have children.

Al-Haroon Husain, an attorney for Ansari in the probate case, said the money was all accounted for and the estate was in the process of being divided up by the court. Under Illinois law, the estate typically would be split evenly between the surviving spouse and Khan's only child, he said.

Kozicki, Ansari's criminal defense attorney, said his client adored her husband and had no financial interest in seeing harm come to him.

"Now in addition to grieving her husband, she's struggling to run the business that he essentially ran while he was alive," Kozicki said. "Once people analyze it, they (would) realize she's in a much worse financial position after his death than she was before."

Reached by phone Tuesday evening at the family dry cleaners, Ansari denied reports that she had fed her husband a traditional Indian meal of ground beef curry before he died. She said he wasn't feeling well after awakening in the middle of the night. She said he sat in a chair and soon collapsed. She then called 911.

Chicago police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, speaking Tuesday at an unrelated news conference, remarked that he had never seen a case like this in 32 years in law enforcement.

"So I'll never say that I've seen everything," he told reporters.

Chicago Tribune, Lottery Post Staff

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51 comments. Last comment 1 year ago by Ronnie316.
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United States
Member #137433
January 3, 2013
469 Posts
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Posted: January 9, 2013, 12:38 pm - IP Logged

The widow of a West Rogers Park, Illinois, man who died of cyanide poisoning weeks after winning a $1 million lottery jackpot was questioned extensively by Chicago police last month after the medical examiner's office reclassified the death as a homicide, her attorney said on Tuesday.

Authorities investigating the death of Urooj Khan also executed a search warrant at the home he had shared with his wife, Shabana Ansari, according to Steven Kozicki, her attorney. Ansari later was interviewed by detectives for more than four hours, answering all their questions, the attorney said.

"She's got nothing to hide," Kozicki said.

The mystery surrounding Khan's death has sparked international media interest.

Cook County authorities said Tuesday that they plan to go to court in the next few days for approval to exhume Khan's remains at Rosehill Cemetery. In a telephone interview Tuesday, Medical Examiner Stephen J. Cina said he sent a sworn statement to prosecutors laying out why the body must be exhumed.

"I feel that a complete autopsy is needed for the sake of clarity and thoroughness," Cina said.

Sally Daly, a spokeswoman for the state's attorney's office, confirmed that papers seeking the exhumation would be filed soon in the Daley Center courthouse.

Khan, who owned a dry cleaning business on the city's North Side, died unexpectedly in July at 46, just weeks after winning a million-dollar lottery 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 without an autopsy.

About a week later, a relative told authorities 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, leading the medical examiner's office to reclassify the death a homicide and prompting police and prosecutors to investigate.

While a motive has not been determined, police have not ruled out that Khan was killed because of his big lottery win, a law enforcement source said. He died before he could collect the winnings — about $425,000 after taxes and because he decided to take a lump-sum payment.

According to court records, Khan's brother has squabbled with Ansari over the money in probate court. The brother, Imtiaz, raised concern that because Khan left no will, his 17-year-old daughter from a previous marriage would not get "her fair share" of her father's estate. Khan and Ansari did not have children.

Al-Haroon Husain, an attorney for Ansari in the probate case, said the money was all accounted for and the estate was in the process of being divided up by the court. Under Illinois law, the estate typically would be split evenly between the surviving spouse and Khan's only child, he said.

Kozicki, Ansari's criminal defense attorney, said his client adored her husband and had no financial interest in seeing harm come to him.

"Now in addition to grieving her husband, she's struggling to run the business that he essentially ran while he was alive," Kozicki said. "Once people analyze it, they (would) realize she's in a much worse financial position after his death than she was before."

Reached by phone Tuesday evening at the family dry cleaners, Ansari denied reports that she had fed her husband a traditional Indian meal of ground beef curry before he died. She said he wasn't feeling well after awakening in the middle of the night. She said he sat in a chair and soon collapsed. She then called 911.

Chicago police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, speaking Tuesday at an unrelated news conference, remarked that he had never seen a case like this in 32 years in law enforcement.

"So I'll never say that I've seen everything," he told reporters.

May been the brother.... Family can be shady when it comes to money... That's why they kill him beforcheck got check

    lotterywannawin's avatar - Lottery-011.jpg
    Michigan
    United States
    Member #56297
    November 12, 2007
    395 Posts
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    Posted: January 9, 2013, 1:22 pm - IP Logged

    Sounds like a close family member.

      hearsetrax's avatar - 78638c467ef281febf24383e126f74b6

      United States
      Member #52345
      May 21, 2007
      1829 Posts
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      Posted: January 9, 2013, 1:38 pm - IP Logged

      Skeptical ought to prove very interesting indeed Lurking


        United States
        Member #111446
        May 25, 2011
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        Posted: January 9, 2013, 2:55 pm - IP Logged

        Clearly a plot from our government to discourage any future gambling activities.

        The wife being questioned, is merely a smokescreen to deflect any attention to the covert activities that were carried out.  Patriot

          sully16's avatar - sharan
          Listens to the wind

          United States
          Member #81740
          October 28, 2009
          19132 Posts
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          Posted: January 9, 2013, 3:08 pm - IP Logged

          I wonder, if it was the wife, why didn't she have him cremated ? My first suspect would be the relative who called.

          There's only one US Flag

            dallascowboyfan's avatar - tiana the-princess-and-the-frog.jpg
            Oklahoma
            United States
            Member #82391
            November 12, 2009
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            Posted: January 9, 2013, 3:28 pm - IP Logged

            WOW!!! this sounds like Lifetime Movie Network.....Lurking

            I Love Pink & Green 1908


              United States
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              September 7, 2011
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              Posted: January 9, 2013, 3:40 pm - IP Logged

              This will end up being a sharia law case........

                Cletu$2's avatar - Lottery-050.jpg
                S.E.Iowa
                United States
                Member #120509
                December 21, 2011
                534 Posts
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                Posted: January 9, 2013, 3:55 pm - IP Logged

                Was the clerk at the 7-11 that sold him the ticket named Patel?

                When I was a boy I was told that anybody could become President; I'm beginning to believe it. ~Clarence Darrow

                There ought to be one day - just one - when there is open season on senators. ~Will Rogers

                  haymaker's avatar - Lottery-012.jpg
                  egg harbor twp.south jersey shore
                  United States
                  Member #112972
                  June 29, 2011
                  3103 Posts
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                  Posted: January 9, 2013, 4:24 pm - IP Logged

                  I wonder, if it was the wife, why didn't she have him cremated ? My first suspect would be the relative who called.

                  It may be that his religion did not permit cremation.

                  Extraordinary Popular Delusions & the Madness of Crowds    -- Charles Mackay  LL.D.

                    HoLeeKau's avatar - YheaShea
                    Boise, ID
                    United States
                    Member #94285
                    July 17, 2010
                    1660 Posts
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                    Posted: January 9, 2013, 5:10 pm - IP Logged

                    I wonder, if it was the wife, why didn't she have him cremated ? My first suspect would be the relative who called.

                    Yes, and I believe he was still alive when he got to the hospital.  If I poisoned him, I'd wait till he was dead before I called an ambulance just to make sure he didn't make a miraculous recovery at the hospital.


                      United States
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                      September 7, 2011
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                      Posted: January 9, 2013, 5:16 pm - IP Logged

                      Yes, and I believe he was still alive when he got to the hospital.  If I poisoned him, I'd wait till he was dead before I called an ambulance just to make sure he didn't make a miraculous recovery at the hospital.

                      Nice planning. Well thought out.

                        HoLeeKau's avatar - YheaShea
                        Boise, ID
                        United States
                        Member #94285
                        July 17, 2010
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                        Posted: January 9, 2013, 5:30 pm - IP Logged

                        Nice planning. Well thought out.

                        Thank you very much.

                           chicken run smiley


                          United States
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                          September 7, 2011
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                          Posted: January 9, 2013, 5:35 pm - IP Logged

                          Thank you very much.

                             chicken run smiley

                                        Yes Nod

                            HaveABall's avatar - rocket

                            United States
                            Member #72448
                            March 18, 2009
                            958 Posts
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                            Posted: January 9, 2013, 6:42 pm - IP Logged

                            Oh, this medical examiner drama ... perhaps only the chemicals Mr. Ansari worked with during his work day directly or indirectly killed him.

                            Regardless, next, the Cook County Probate Court's appointed probate administrator/auditor will require that the Ansaris real estate holdings be passed out to heirs or sold (at the worst possible time through massively depreciating %s these past six years), and net monies divied out evenly to his two heirs; causing a huge loss to Mr. Ansari's Probate Estate.  A shame.

                            Blush

                            Having millions of dollars in my financial accounts means more, consistent fun for me.Lovies