Murder investigation launched after US lottery winner dies of suspected cyanide poisoning the day after winning $425,000
Tuesday 08 January 2013
Urooj Khan thought all his luck had come at once. After all, not only had he just won the lottery, he barely ever played it. But the day after picking up his $425,000 (£265,000) prize Mr Khan died from what appears to have been cyanide poisoning. Police are treating the case as murder.
Mr Khan, a committed Muslim, swore off gambling after returning from the Hajj pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia in 2010. He occasionally broke his pledge, then struck gold on a million-dollar scratchcard purchased from his local convenience store. “Winning the lottery means everything to me,” he said as he accepted a giant cheque on June 26 last year.
A spokesman for the Illinois lottery said that in the event of a lottery winner dying, the cheque passes to his or her estate. On 15 August, a month after he claimed his prize, Mr Khan’s ticket was cashed.
Police documents obtained by the Chicago Tribune showed that on the night he died, Mr Khan had come home from work to his wife and daughter, eaten a meal and gone to bed before screaming in pain. He was pronounced dead at St Francis Hospital in nearby Evanston.
It was mistakenly believed he had died of heart disease, but the case was reopened when a suspicious family member made an anonymous phone call. A full toxicology test showed he had ingested a lethal dose of cyanide.
The Chicago Police Department said its detectives are working closely with the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office, who claimed Mr Khan’s body is likely to be exhumed for the purposes of the investigation.
“The initial investigation didn’t suggest anything suspicious about his death,” Dr Stephen Cina, a Medical Examiner for Cook County, told ABC News. He said there were no obvious injuries or trauma. He claimed that out of 4,500 autopsies he’d done, only “one, maybe two cases” involved cyanide poisoning. But further tests taken when Mr Khan’s family “wanted us to look a little harder” showed the poison was in fact to blame.
Poisons expert Deborah Blum told the AP that the use of cyanide in attempted killings was increasingly uncommon because the blue splotches it leaves on the victim’s skin makes it easy to detect.
“It has a really strong, bitter taste, so you would know you had swallowed something bad if you had swallowed cyanide,” she said. “But if you had a high enough dose it wouldn’t matter, because... a good lethal dose will take you out in less than five minutes.”
He had planned to invest the money in his dry cleaning business. “By God’s grace, he was a workaholic,” said his widow Shabana Ansari, adding in a statement released by the police that he was “the best husband on the entire planet.”
Culinary experts in The Netherlands thought it was 'fresh' and 'tasty'
Of all the computers Apple has ever made there’s only one that Steve Jobs had to sell his car to finance
- 1 As an ex prostitute, I urge all the political parties to commit to the Sex Buyer Law
- 2 Nokia no more: Microsoft drops once-ubiquitous mobile name – in favour of its Lumia brand
- 3 Renee Zellweger on plastic surgery: 'I'm living a more fulfilling life and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows'
- 4 Australian café owner sparks debate after saying 'No' to having unruly children on premises
- 5 Couple die within 28 hours of each other after being married for 73 years
Renee Zellweger on plastic surgery: 'I'm living a more fulfilling life and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows'
Isis releases first video showing the stoning of woman accused of committing adultery as her father shouts 'don't call me Dad'
Banksy not arrested: Internet duped by fake report claiming artist's identity revealed
Diwali: What is the festival of lights – and how is it celebrated around the world?
Nelson Bunker Hunt dead: Former world’s richest man dies in 'modest circumstances' in US after losing his fortune
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
£20000 - £22000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Systems Tester - Functional/Non-Func...
£350 - £360 per day: Ashdown Group: SQL Developer with T-SQL, Watford, Hertfor...
£65000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Business Intelligence Consultant - C...
£70 - £85 per day: Randstad Education Group: SEN Teaching Assistants needed in...