Lottery winner's body exhumed in Chicago

Last Updated 04 May 2018, 09:12 IST

The body of a 46-year-old Indian- origin businessman, who died of cyanide poisoning here days after he won a million dollar lottery, has been exhumed and an autopsy was conducted by authorities to find answers to his mysterious death.

Judge Susan Coleman of the Probate Division of the Cook County Circuit Court in Illinois last Friday had approved the Cook County medical examiner’s request to exhume the body of Urooj Khan, who died last July, a day after he collected a lump sum payout amounting to $425,000 after taxes, as his prize money.

The autopsy of Khan’s body was conducted after his body was exhumed yesterday morning from the Rose Hill Cemetery in Chicago, the ABC News reported.

Dr Stephen Cina, Cook County Chief Medical Examiner, said enough tissue samples were recovered from Khan’s body to proceed with further testing. The samples taken were from his hair, finger nails, stomach contents, and other solid organs.

Cina said his office was “done with our examination.” However, the autopsy results could take “several weeks” to be completed. A spokeswoman said it could take two to three weeks to get the results.

Cina said it took “a couple hours” to remove Khan’s body, who was buried according to Muslim tradition. His body was wrapped in a shroud and not embalmed. He was in a wooden coffin that included Styrofoam in the lid, all in a cement vault.

Cina said how the cyanide entered Khan’s body could have affected his manner of death, such as whether he had ingested it with a meal. “I don’t know if it was or if it wasn’t,” Cina said of whether the poison was mixed with food.

Cina said he also took samples of the dirt around the coffin to assure that microbes in the dirt did not produce cyanide.

Khan had come to the US from his home in Hyderabad in 1989 and set up several dry-cleaning businesses in Chicago.

Khan’s death in July was originally attributed to natural causes. A relative later requested the Cook County Medical Examiner take another look. After examining fluid samples, a lethal level of cyanide was found and Khan’s death was declared a homicide.

(Published 19 January 2013, 18:40 IST)

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