Lottery winner’s cyanide poisoning death remains unsolved five years later
Urooj Khan could not imagine his success in spring 2012 when he scratched off a 2nd lottery price tag at a 7-Eleven close to his house on Chicago’s Far North Side and discovered he had received $1 million.
When he authorized an outsized promotional take a look at from Illinois Lottery representatives along with his spouse and teen daughter at his aspect, he spoke of ways his winnings would assist him develop his dry-cleaning industry.
But weeks later, earlier than he had amassed the true winnings, Khan died hastily at 46.
The Cook County clinical examiner’s administrative center dominated that he died of herbal reasons since no indicators of trauma have been discovered on his frame and a initial blood check raised no questions.
But after a grieving relative persuaded the administrative center to take a more in-depth glance, additional trying out printed that Khan were poisoned with a deadly dosage of cyanide. Chicago police introduced a murder investigation.
Lottery Post reported the main points of Khan’s death in January 2013, amid a world media hurricane for a homicide thriller that one police reputable on the time in comparison to an Agatha Christie novel.
Now, with the passing of the 5th anniversary of Khan’s July 20 death, Chicago police proceed to have little to mention about their investigation. But no person has ever been charged with considered one of Chicago’s strangest killings in years.
Khan’s family members are annoyed, looking forward to solutions from police that can by no means come.
“I keep getting the same answer — they are looking for a witness. How long is it going to take?” Khan’s older brother, Imtiaz, stated in his thick Indian accessory all over an interview final week at his west suburban house. “Who could be the witness?”
A police supply conversant in the case stated the investigation remains at a standstill as a result of folks with reference to Khan who would possibly have details about his death have no longer been imminent with detectives.
Khan, a local of India, moved to Chicago within the past due 1980s, sooner or later dabbling in actual property and working a number of dry-cleaning companies along with his 2nd spouse, Shabana Ansari.
Khan loved every now and then purchasing lottery tickets, however after he made hajj — the once-in-a-lifetime pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia required of all in a position Muslims — he attempted to surrender playing to are living a extra virtuous existence.
But that day in 2012, he rapidly modified his thoughts and purchased two tickets.
“I hit a million!” Khan shouted time and again after scratching off his 2nd price tag, in line with the Illinois Lottery.
Khan opted for a lump sum fee of about $600,000 — reduced to about $425,000 after taxes. But he died after falling in poor health at house earlier than amassing his take a look at.
With no proof of foul play, the clinical examiner’s administrative center didn’t carry out an post-mortem. A forensic pathologist, despite the fact that, took a pattern of his blood — a regular follow in any death — and checked for carbon monoxide, opiates and alcohol. When the ones effects got here again adverse, the administrative center dominated that Khan died of hardening of the arteries.
Imtiaz Khan stated he would not settle for that discovering, particularly after his brother’s lottery win created some pressure inside of his prolonged circle of relatives. In a number of telephone calls, together with one whilst he visited his brother’s grave, he pleaded with the clinical examiner’s administrative center to take a more in-depth glance.
“I kept saying, ‘He didn’t die by heart attack. It was a murder,'” stated Khan, sitting at his eating room desk by means of a wall embellished with framed textual content from the Koran. “‘Can you please check more into it?'”
The administrative center put the blood pattern thru extra complete toxicological trying out, checking it for quite a few probably damaging components, together with amphetamines, PCP, fentanyl and barbiturates. In a marvel, the exams no longer simplest exposed the cyanide however deadly ranges of the substance.
Detectives interviewed Khan’s widow, Ansari, for greater than 4 hours in past due 2012. At the time, her prison protection attorney, Steven Kozicki, stated she replied all their questions.
According to Kozicki, government additionally achieved a seek warrant on the house within the West Rogers Park community that she shared with Khan; his daughter from a prior marriage, Jasmeen; and Ansari’s father.
Shabana Ansari may just no longer be reached for remark final week regardless of repeated makes an attempt. But days after the tale broke about her husband’s death, she advised journalists that detectives had wondered her concerning the elements she utilized in getting ready what became out to be her husband’s final meal, a standard Indian lamb curry dinner.
In addition to Khan, Ansari and her father, Fareedun Ansari, stated they and Jasmeen all shared the similar meal.
Both Ansari and her father denied to journalists any involvement within the death.
“He was such a nice person,” Ansari stated. “No one would dare kill him.”
As it became out, a bit of greater than a yr earlier than Khan’s death, the Internal Revenue Service positioned liens at the circle of relatives place of dwelling in an try to acquire greater than $120,000 in again taxes owed by means of Fareedun Ansari.
The clinical examiner’s administrative center, underneath fireplace for its dealing with of Khan’s death six months previous, exhumed his frame later from Rosehill Cemetery on Chicago’s Far North Side to accomplish an post-mortem.
Stephen J. Cina, then leader clinical examiner, later advised journalists it would no longer be decided how deadly ranges of cyanide entered Khan’s frame on account of its complicated decomposition. Following Muslim custom, the frame had no longer been embalmed, contributing to its situation.
Cina additionally stated forensic pathologists discovered simplest “residue” within the abdomen, leaving them unsure what Khan had final eaten.
The post-mortem, alternatively, printed that considered one of Khan’s coronary arteries used to be 75 p.c blocked, a reality highlighted on the time by means of Shabana Ansari’s prison protection attorney as proof that his death would possibly have nonetheless were from herbal reasons. Indeed, the post-mortem famous that coronary artery illness used to be a contributing issue to Khan’s death.
“Since cyanide affects oxygen utilization in the tissues, it follows logically that a natural disease process that already limits blood flow to the heart could render an individual particularly susceptible to death due to this toxin,” stated the overall post-mortem record issued in February 2013.
In a short lived phone interview final week, alternatively, Cina stated the toxicological effects appearing the deadly dosage of cyanide made the murder discovering “pretty straightforward.”
“Probably the most controversial cases are suicides when the family doesn’t want to accept the ruling,” stated Cina, who now practices forensic pathology in Colorado.
Khan had no suicidal ideations, Cina stated, and “there was no evidence that he accidentally ingested the cyanide.”
Cina stated the case ranks “probably in the top 10” of probably the most memorable he is noticed in his 26 years as a forensic pathologist, however most commonly on account of the serious media consideration it won.
After her father died, Jasmeen left the circle of relatives house, shifting in with Khan’s sister and her husband. Jasmeen, who may just no longer be reached for remark, is now learning at Loyola University Chicago, her circle of relatives stated.
Since Urooj Khan left no will, the survivors battled over his belongings in Cook County probate court docket earlier than attaining a agreement.
In the top, his daughter used to be awarded some condominiums stated to be valued at a mixed $250,000 and one-third of the lottery winnings, about $140,000, court docket information display. His widow saved the dry-cleaning companies valued at a bit of greater than $1 million and two-thirds of the lottery cash, about $280,000, in line with the information. Some of the property went towards lawyers’ charges.
As a part of the settlement, either side have been barred from pursuing wrongful-death proceedings except the prison investigation into Khan’s death became up new proof.
Al-Haroon Husain, Ansari’s lawyer within the topic, stated he is by no means treated a extra aggressive probate case.
“It wasn’t just a matter of money,” Husain stated final week all over an interview at considered one of his suburban places of work. “It was a matter that one side believed the other side murdered (him). … I don’t know if there is any harder emotion to overcome, to say that you’ve murdered my family member.”
Imtiaz Khan, who pressed the clinical examiner to take a more in-depth have a look at the death, stated he used to name Chicago police for updates at the investigation extra incessantly.
He stated he nonetheless visits his brother’s grave at Rosehill Cemetery.
“Where is the justice?” he stated. “I want who did this to be behind bars.”
At Rosehill, frivolously overgrown grass surrounds Khan’s gravestone. About 80 ft away sits a dampened mound of filth with a bouquet of vegetation resting atop it — the place Khan’s sweetheart’s father, Fareedun Ansari, used to be buried after he died at 75 of most cancers previous this month, in line with public information.
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