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Puzzling cliff-hanger remains in case of poisoned lottery winner

Illinois LotteryIllinois Lottery: Puzzling cliff-hanger remains in case of poisoned lottery winner
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CHICAGO — With his departure from office this week, a county medical examiner leaves behind a beguiling mystery set in motion more than three years ago with his sensational declaration that a Chicago businessman who had just won a $1 million lottery prize was poisoned by cyanide.

Cook County Medical Examiner Stephen Cina's finding that Urooj Khan's death was a homicide led to the exhumation of his body, divided his family and drew flocks of international reporters to Chicago to cover the story.

Cina, whose last day in office was Sunday, said he had not heard so much as a peep from police since handing the case over to them in early 2013.

Estranged family members who had voiced vague suspicions about Khan's wife or her father have quietly gone on with their lives. Attorneys for the man's wife say they've heard nothing and believe the investigation stalled shortly after police questioned her in January 2013.

"Yeah, I think the case has become dormant," said Al-Haroon Husain, an attorney who represented Khan's wife in a bitter probate fight with her stepdaughter and late husband's siblings over his lottery winnings and the rest of his estate. He's not even convinced there was foul play, adding that he thinks "the police have just stepped away."

Over the course of nearly four years, police say they have interviewed three family members: Khan's wife, daughter and father-in-law, who all had dinner with him the night he died. No one has ever been charged. But detectives are continuing to talk with family members, police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said Friday.

"It is still very much an open investigation," he said.

Khan, who moved to the U.S. from Hyderabad, India, in 1989, ran a dry-cleaning businesses with his wife in the West Rogers Park neighborhood on Chicago's Northwest Side.

Though the increasingly devout Muslim had sworn off gambling after a religious pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia, Khan bought a scratch-off lottery ticket at a 7-Eleven near his home in June 2012. To his astonishment, it was a $1 million winner. He was going to use the money to pay off mortgages and expand his business.

But the 46-year-old with big dreams died on July 20, 2012, after eating dinner and going to bed. It was one day after the lottery check was issued but before he received it. Initially, the medical examiner's office ruled he died of natural causes after an external exam turned up no signs of trauma. No autopsy was conducted at the time.

But the man's anguished brother had doubts. The timing of the death and tension over the lottery win made him suspicious. At his urging, pathologists tested a peripheral blood sample.

According to Cina, who became the chief medical examiner that September, the test came back positive for cyanide. He reclassified the death as a homicide, emphasizing that he did not believe the lethal dose could have been ingested by accident.

Khan's body was exhumed in January 2013 for further tests, but by then no cyanide was detectable in the badly decomposed remains.

A settlement split Khan's estate — including the lottery check — between his daughter and her estranged stepmother.

"Everybody has their suspicions and innuendos but at the end of the day at a certain point no matter what it is, you just have to move on with your life," said the wife's attorney, Husain.

News story photo(Click to display full-size in gallery)

AP, Lottery Post Staff

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21 comments. Last comment 6 months ago by rgse90.
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TheMeatman2005's avatar - lightening
Brooklyn, NY
United States
Member #169723
October 29, 2015
877 Posts
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Posted: June 12, 2016, 10:33 am - IP Logged

Since this is, according to the medical examiner, a homicide, they will eventually find out who gave him the cyanide. Being there is no statute of limitations on murder, they just have to keep probing until they find the guilty person.

This reminds me of the  Alanis Morissette song "Ironic" Alanis Morissette - Ironic (OFFICIAL VIDEO)

"Ironic"

An old man turned ninety-eight
He won the lottery and died the next day
It's a black fly in your Chardonnay
It's a death row pardon two minutes too late
And isn't it ironic... don't you think

It's like rain on your wedding day
It's a free ride when you've already paid
It's the good advice that you just didn't take
Who would've thought... it figures

Mr. Play It Safe was afraid to fly
He packed his suitcase and kissed his kids goodbye
He waited his whole <snip> life to take that flight
And as the plane crashed down he thought
"Well isn't this nice..."
And isn't it ironic... don't you think

It's like rain on your wedding day
It's a free ride when you've already paid
It's the good advice that you just didn't take
Who would've thought... it figures

Well life has a funny way of sneaking up on you
When you think everything's okay and everything's going right
And life has a funny way of helping you out when
You think everything's gone wrong and everything blows up
In your face

A traffic jam when you're already late
A no-smoking sign on your cigarette break
It's like ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife
It's meeting the man of my dreams
And then meeting his beautiful wife
And isn't it ironic...don't you think
A little too ironic...and, yeah, I really do think...

It's like rain on your wedding day
It's a free ride when you've already paid
It's the good advice that you just didn't take
Who would've thought... it figures

Life has a funny way of sneaking up on you
Life has a funny, funny way of helping you out
Helping you out

This post has been automatically changed by the Lottery Post computer system to remove inappropriate content and/or spam.

The Meatman

“The quickest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it in your back pocket.” Will Rogers

Winning happens in a flash, Like A Bolt Of Lightning!  Patriot

    music*'s avatar - nw bookeep.jpg
    Happy California
    United States
    Member #157856
    August 2, 2014
    1513 Posts
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    Posted: June 12, 2016, 10:46 am - IP Logged

    KHAN !!!  Screamed Admiral James T. Kirk into his communicator. Trapped in an underground cave to die, so thought his nemesis. One of the better Star Trek movies. Ricardo Montablam,spelling? 

     I've been rich and I've been poor. Believe me, rich is better. 

     Attributed to Joe E. Lewis and others

      mypiemaster's avatar - 2015021003pileofcash
      JACKPOT HUNTER

      United States
      Member #141034
      April 2, 2013
      1408 Posts
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      Posted: June 12, 2016, 2:10 pm - IP Logged

      At times, winning the lottery is tantamount to signing your own death warrant. Especially now that some lottery officials are willing to fight for cheap publicity instead of player safety. They will rather plaster your mug all over social media rather than giving you a choice to stay anon. or to hot dog it. I KNOW THERE ARE STILL SOME IDIOTS THAT SAY,"IF YOU DON'T LIKE IT, DON'T PLAY".

      Seek and ye shall find -Matt. 7:7 ...Ask and ye shall receive -John 16:24 ...Give and it shall be given unto you -Luke 6:38 ...Be careful what you ask for!!! -Mypiemaster 1:1

      Having Money Solves Problems That Not Having Money Creates Yes Nod ****John Carlton****

        LiveInGreenBay's avatar - driver
        Green Bay
        United States
        Member #169391
        October 15, 2015
        1244 Posts
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        Posted: June 12, 2016, 2:46 pm - IP Logged

        The guy was poisoned, this seems like a slam-dunk!  Hello lie-detector test!

        Never give up.  Banana

          Raven62's avatar - binary
          New Jersey
          United States
          Member #17843
          June 28, 2005
          49699 Posts
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          Posted: June 12, 2016, 3:04 pm - IP Logged

          Follow the Money!

          A mind once stretched by a new idea never returns to its original dimensions!

            noise-gate's avatar - images q=tbn:ANd9GcR91HDs4UJhjxO7cmeMQWZ5lB_FOcMLOGicau4V74R45tDgPWrr
            Bay Area - California
            United States
            Member #136477
            December 12, 2012
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            Posted: June 12, 2016, 4:00 pm - IP Logged

            Estranged family members who had voiced vague suspicions about Khan's wife or her father have quietly gone on with their lives.

            People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it- George Bernard Shaw.

              hearsetrax's avatar - 0118

              United States
              Member #52345
              May 21, 2007
              2657 Posts
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              Posted: June 12, 2016, 4:09 pm - IP Logged

              Skeptical nothing like a good murder mystery, but time will spin a most curious yarn sooner or later

               

              someone will squeal or do something out of character soon enough

              just a matter of when

                LiveInGreenBay's avatar - driver
                Green Bay
                United States
                Member #169391
                October 15, 2015
                1244 Posts
                Offline
                Posted: June 12, 2016, 4:14 pm - IP Logged

                Skeptical nothing like a good murder mystery, but time will spin a most curious yarn sooner or later

                 

                someone will squeal or do something out of character soon enough

                just a matter of when

                Thats true hearse...Sooner or later, you'll get more business here.  Blue Angel

                Never give up.  Banana

                  Bondi Junction
                  Australia
                  Member #57242
                  December 24, 2007
                  1102 Posts
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                  Posted: June 12, 2016, 5:36 pm - IP Logged

                  With his departure from office this week, a county medical examiner leaves behind a beguiling mystery set in motion more than three years ago with his sensational declaration that a Chicago businessman who had just won a $1 million lottery prize was poisoned by cyanide.

                  Cook County Medical Examiner Stephen Cina's finding that Urooj Khan's death was a homicide led to the exhumation of his body, divided his family and drew flocks of international reporters to Chicago to cover the story.

                  Cina, whose last day in office was Sunday, said he had not heard so much as a peep from police since handing the case over to them in early 2013.

                  Estranged family members who had voiced vague suspicions about Khan's wife or her father have quietly gone on with their lives. Attorneys for the man's wife say they've heard nothing and believe the investigation stalled shortly after police questioned her in January 2013.

                  "Yeah, I think the case has become dormant," said Al-Haroon Husain, an attorney who represented Khan's wife in a bitter probate fight with her stepdaughter and late husband's siblings over his lottery winnings and the rest of his estate. He's not even convinced there was foul play, adding that he thinks "the police have just stepped away."

                  Over the course of nearly four years, police say they have interviewed three family members: Khan's wife, daughter and father-in-law, who all had dinner with him the night he died. No one has ever been charged. But detectives are continuing to talk with family members, police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said Friday.

                  "It is still very much an open investigation," he said.

                  Khan, who moved to the U.S. from Hyderabad, India, in 1989, ran a dry-cleaning businesses with his wife in the West Rogers Park neighborhood on Chicago's Northwest Side.

                  Though the increasingly devout Muslim had sworn off gambling after a religious pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia, Khan bought a scratch-off lottery ticket at a 7-Eleven near his home in June 2012. To his astonishment, it was a $1 million winner. He was going to use the money to pay off mortgages and expand his business.

                  But the 46-year-old with big dreams died on July 20, 2012, after eating dinner and going to bed. It was one day after the lottery check was issued but before he received it. Initially, the medical examiner's office ruled he died of natural causes after an external exam turned up no signs of trauma. No autopsy was conducted at the time.

                  But the man's anguished brother had doubts. The timing of the death and tension over the lottery win made him suspicious. At his urging, pathologists tested a peripheral blood sample.

                  According to Cina, who became the chief medical examiner that September, the test came back positive for cyanide. He reclassified the death as a homicide, emphasizing that he did not believe the lethal dose could have been ingested by accident.

                  Khan's body was exhumed in January 2013 for further tests, but by then no cyanide was detectable in the badly decomposed remains.

                  A settlement split Khan's estate — including the lottery check — between his daughter and her estranged stepmother.

                  "Everybody has their suspicions and innuendos but at the end of the day at a certain point no matter what it is, you just have to move on with your life," said the wife's attorney, Husain.

                  News story photo(Click to display full-size in gallery)

                  It is time for Washington to act, and give all US lottery winners to right to anonymity.

                  We all get a lot out of lotteries!

                    ArizonaDream's avatar - Lottery-009.jpg

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                    October 10, 2015
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                    Posted: June 12, 2016, 5:55 pm - IP Logged

                    (To myturn)

                     

                    I don't disagree with you, but this was family. It's pretty hard to hide something that big from close family.

                      Groppo's avatar - cat anm.gif

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                      January 7, 2015
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                      Posted: June 12, 2016, 9:15 pm - IP Logged

                      .

                      Aw, come on.

                      Somebody knows something about this.

                      Now who did it?  I really need to know how this terrible thing happened.
                      Not only that, but why do these acts keep happening?
                      (realizing this article was about something that happened a few years ago)

                      Somebody knows something about this.
                      That person should turn themselves in, or report anything they know about it.

                      The people involved in this poor fellow's murder will eventually be severely shamed, if not sooner.
                      Why don't people start behaving decently and honestly?

                      For me, I just want to play my numbers every week, without worrying about being murdered.

                      • Don't chase the numbers you play.
                      • Play only numbers you've already played, plus however many random picks.
                      • But, ALWAYS the regular numbers you play.  This will make you a winner, not a chaser.
                                (so far, though, I've yet to win any significant lotto prize)
                        Kingofearth's avatar - Kinnak
                        Upstate NY
                        United States
                        Member #174656
                        May 5, 2016
                        755 Posts
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                        Posted: June 12, 2016, 11:27 pm - IP Logged

                        The guy was poisoned, this seems like a slam-dunk!  Hello lie-detector test!

                        No such thing exists. The closest thing to one, a polygraph, is so ineffective and prone to error that it isn't admissible in court. 

                          TheMeatman2005's avatar - lightening
                          Brooklyn, NY
                          United States
                          Member #169723
                          October 29, 2015
                          877 Posts
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                          Posted: June 13, 2016, 7:54 am - IP Logged

                          I guess this takes the idiom of "MAKE A KILLING"  to a new level.

                          Someone in his family did this to him since as the story reports... "Though the increasingly devout Muslim had sworn off gambling after a religious pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia, Khan bought a scratch-off lottery ticket at a 7-Eleven near his home in June 2012".

                           

                          According to an unrelated article, we consume cyanide every day, but not at poisonous levels.

                           Cyanide in Common Foods: Should You Be Worried?

                          The Meatman

                          “The quickest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it in your back pocket.” Will Rogers

                          Winning happens in a flash, Like A Bolt Of Lightning!  Patriot

                            HoLeeKau's avatar - YheaShea
                            Idaho
                            United States
                            Member #94283
                            July 17, 2010
                            2284 Posts
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                            Posted: June 13, 2016, 11:06 am - IP Logged

                            (To myturn)

                             

                            I don't disagree with you, but this was family. It's pretty hard to hide something that big from close family.

                            Yes, I have a sister who would kill me in a heartbeat if she thought she could get $25K by doing it.  I'm already estranged from her, so if I were able to remain anonymous, I'd have no worries.  She wouldn't find out.  But since I can't, I'd have to draft an iron clad will specifically leaving her out, and send it to her to make sure she knows she couldn't profit by my death.  She's so spiteful, she might still try to make my life a living hell, but probably not kill me.