Urooj Khan | Autopsy reveals little about lottery winner death

Autopsy reveals little about lottery winner`s poisoning death

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

The autopsy results on a poisoned lottery winner's death came back Friday, but the medical examiner said the tests did not shed any new light into how Urooj Khan died.

Friday's results left Khan's family members disappointed. They had been hoping for answers that just did not come. Khan's death remains a mystery because the autopsy yielded no clues as to how he was poisoned.

Chicago police will have to determine, without scientific help, how a lethal dose of cyanide got into the Indian-born businessman's system.

"No cyanide was detected in the tissues or the small amount of gastric content that were recovered following exhumation of the body," Cook Co. Medical Examiner Dr. Stephen Cina said.

Cina said that's because cyanide breaks down and disappears over time, so they can't tell whether the poison came from something he ate or drank. The only other two ways are to breathe it in or have it injected.

Khan died last July, just after he collected $425,000 from a $1 million lottery jackpot win.

His death was initially attributed to natural causes, but a relative's suspicions prompted the medical examiner to conduct tests which showed a lethal level of cyanide in Khan's system.

In January, his body was exhumed so investigators could do more tests. Khan's sister was disappointed by the autopsy results.

"[I] was not surprised," Meraj Khan said, "but I was hoping that something would have come out with these test results, where they could have found something [on] how it got into the body."

Meraj Khan and her husband would not say who they suspect, but did point out that her brother died within hours of eating his last meal, which his wife Shabbana Ansari prepared for him.

The only other people in the home at the time were Khan's daughter and father in law. Khan's sister received a call from his phone around 4 a.m. and someone was screaming on the other end.

"Where that cyanide came from his initial blood result, I think it still a matter of speculation," Shabbana Ansari's attorney Steven Kozicki said. "I think that you can't base a case speculation. She had nothing to do with it."

Khan's body was found to have a 75 percent blockage in one coronary artery, but the medical examiner said that was only a contributing cause. Cina said there was enough cyanide in his system to kill him and his death was not due to the clogged artery.

"We had already called in a homicide due to cyanide toxicity based on the peripheral blood from the external examination," CIna said. "So it was a lethal level then, it's still a lethal level [now]."

"So we know he was poisoned. We have to go figure out how it happened," Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said. "We have to go do those things that we do in investigations, which are ask questions, interview people and look for something."

The autopsy makes it more difficult for police to prove who might have been responsible for poisoning Khan. But Khan's family, including his widow, remains hopeful that they will one day get to the truth.

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