Society

Body of Chicago Lottery Winner Urooj Kahn Exhumed for Autopsy

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A Chicago man was poisoned with cyanide just days before he was to collect his winnings from the lottery in July. At first, his death was said to be of natural causes, but after a relative pushed for further examination, they discovered he had ingested cyanide. 

On Friday, the man's body was exhumed for a deeper examination. Authorities hope to discover how he ingested the poison and gather more evidence in case it goes to trial. 

According to the Associated Press, a hearse carrying the body of Urooj Kahn was escorted by four police cars from a cemetery on Chicago's North Side around 9 am. The Cook County Medical Examiner's Office was expected to perform the autopsy immediately. 

A spokeswoman for the office said they will take blood, tissue, bone, hair and nail samples. They will also examine the lungs, liver, spleen and contents of the stomach and intestines. These tests could determine whether he swallowed, inhaled or had the poison injected into his body. 

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It will take two to three weeks to receive the test results. 

Khan was 46 years old when he died. He had moved to America from Hyderabad, India in 1989. He soon set up dry-cleaning businesses and bought real-estate investments. 

Though he had sworn against gambling after he made a trip to Mecca in 2010, Khan decided to buy a lottery ticket in June. He ended up winning $425,000. 

Khan was planning to use his winnings to pay of mortgages, expand his business, and donate to St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital. 

He only had a few days left until he could collect his winnings when he died suddenly on July 20. Before he died, he had dinner with his wife, daughter, and father-in-law at their house. During the night, he woke up feeling ill and collapsed. 

Because there was no obvious signs of trauma or initial suspicions, only a basic toxicology screening was performed. They discovered a narrowing and hardening of coronary arteries and determined that was the cause of his death. 

But soon, a concerned relative stepped forward and revealed suspicions about Khan's death. After a full toxicology screening was performed on Khan's body fluids, they found a lethal amount of cyanide in his blood and redeclared his death as a homicide. 

Khan's wife and other relatives have denied that they were involved in the death. Authorities are not revealing any suspects.