Lottery winner’s exhumation Friday
BY FRANK MAIN AND LISA DONOVAN Staff Reporters January 17, 2013 12:14PM
This undated photo provided by the Illinois Lottery shows Urooj Khan, 46, of Chicago's West Rogers Park neighborhood, posing with a winning lottery ticket. The Cook County medical examiner said Monday, Jan. 7, 2013, that Khan was fatally poisoned with cyanide July 20, 2012, a day after he collected nearly $425,000 in lottery winnings. (AP Photo/Illinois Lottery)
Updated: February 19, 2013 3:05PM
Authorities expect to begin the exhumation of the remains of poisoned lottery winner Urooj Khan around 7 a.m. Friday, authorities said.
The body will be taken to the Cook County medical examiner’s office, and an autopsy will be conducted immediately, according to a spokesperson for Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Stephen Cina.
While toxicology tests showed Khan died from cyanide poisoning, the medical examiner’s office wants to inspect Khan’s remains to see if it can determine how the lethal dose entered his system.
Khan died July 20, just after winning a $1 million state lottery jackpot. Because the 46-year-old’s death wasn’t deemed suspicious initially, the medical examiner’s office conducted an external exam looking for trauma or any injuries, rather than a full autopsy.
The medical examiner ruled Khan had died from hardening of the arteries and deemed his death natural. But a relative called the medical examiner’s office and told the doctor who handled the initial exam to take a closer look; blood and tissues had been taken from the body and stored, allowing for more extensive toxicological testing. Weeks later, it was determined he had been given a lethal dose of cyanide.
Now, Khan’s remains will be exhumed from his grave site at Rosehill Cemetery on the North Side, and his remains will be autopsied, including testing on any food found in his stomach, as well as testing on his organs that might show whether the cyanide was inhaled or eaten.
His wife, whose been questioned about Khan’s death but denied wrongdoing, told the Sun-Times she prepared his final meal just hours before his death.
Officials say just how much information they can glean from Khan’s remains will depend on the condition of the body. Following Muslim tradition, Khan was not embalmed.