January 8 (RIA Novosti) – After he won $1 million in the lottery, Urooj Khan’s luck changed drastically when the Chicago man died from cyanide poisoning one day after receiving his earnings, and now authorities have launched a homicide investigation.
“It’s pretty unusual,” Stephen Cina, a medical examiner in Chicago where Khan’s autopsy took place, told the Associated Press (AP) about the rarity of cyanide poisonings. “I’ve had one, maybe two cases out of 4,500 autopsies I’ve done.”
Khan, 46, had just returned to Chicago last June from a hajj pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia that is required of all able Muslims and felt compelled to stop gambling, but he decided to test his luck one more time and bought two lottery tickets at a convenience store, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Khan won and said that “winning the lottery means everything to me” and that he planned to invest his winnings into his dry-cleaning business and donate some to a children’s hospital, the AP reported.
Khan opted to have his winnings in a lump sum, and a check for $425,000, the lump sum payout minus taxes, was issued to him the day before he died at his Chicago home on July 20, according to the Tribune.
The check wasn’t cashed until Aug. 15, likely by a member of his estate, NBC News reported.
After a limited exam the medical examiner ruled that hardening of the arteries was the cause of Khan’s death, but there was no autopsy performed, the AP said.
“At the time, there was no suspicion of foul play based on the history provided,” but an autopsy was performed after one of Khan’s family members asked the medical examiner’s office to look into his death “further” and that “there may be more to it than a natural death,” Cina told the Chicago Sun-Times.
Further tests revealed there was a lethal dose of cyanide in Khan’s system and now the Chicago Police Department is investigating his death as a homicide.
To obtain further information, investigators may also exhume Khan’s body to conduct additional tests, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
“That seems to be the way things are heading,” Cina told the Chicago Sun-Times. “Depending on the condition of the body, we may be able to document the extent of any pre-existing conditions and do additional toxicological testing on other specimens.”
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