Death Remains A Mystery: Poisoned Lottery Winner In Chicago Is Still An Unsolved Homicide

The mystery surrounding the death of poisoned Chicago million dollar lottery winner, Urooj Khan, remains unsolved almost four years later. Cook County Medical Examiner, Stephen Cina, was the person who determined that Khan was poisoned with cyanide, overruling a previous cause of death listed as natural causes. By ruling Khan’s death a homicide, Khan’s body was exhumed. The exhumation, and trying to figure out who poisoned the lottery winner, created a schism within the family. Cina retired on Sunday, and he spoke briefly with the Associated Press about the death mystery. Cina claims that he has not heard about any progress being made by the police in the last three years.

Three people, Shabana Ansari, Khan’s wife, her daughter, and her father were considered to be prime suspects by other family members and police. All three people had dinner with Urooj on the evening before he was poisoned with cyanide. Typically, when a person is poisoned, police begin their suspect search with the people closest to the victim. In January 2013, Ansari was interviewed by Chicago police officers in order to determine if she had anything to do with, or had any information about who poisoned her husband shortly before he was going to collect his lottery winnings. No evidence was found to lead to an arrest.

Al-Haroon Husain is the attorney representing Khan’s wife. Husain says, “yeah, I think the case has become dormant.” Husain claims “the police have just stepped away.” Anthony Guglielmi, a spokesman for the Chicago police department states, “it is still very much an open and active investigation.” Since the death is still an open investigation, Guglielmi was unable to speak about current suspects or other aspects of what the police are doing in order to solve the mystery.

Meraj Khan, sister of Urooj, tells a different story in regard to the investigation into the death of her brother. Meraj states that the detective in charge of Urooj’s case has told relatives that he is too busy with other things, and he can’t take the time to speak on the phone to give updates on the progress of the investigation.

“Every time we called them, he hands it to somebody else who says, ‘Oh, we are looking into it. They haven’t done nothing, really.”

Urooj Khan won the Chicago lottery in May 2012. He was set to collect $425,000 in July when he died just a few days before he picked up his winnings. The original cause of death was listed as natural causes as a result of hardening of the arteries. Police did not become involved until September 2012, when Urooj’s brother began to raise suspicions that his brother may have been murdered. It was soon discovered that lethal amounts of cyanide were in Urooj’s system at the time of his death.

Urooj did not leave a will behind which led to a fight over his lottery winnings and his estate. The ensuing legal battle led to a ruling in which Ansari received one-third of Urooj’s lottery winnings while the other two-thirds was to go to his daughter from a previous marriage. The court also made a ruling that stated neither person would be able to file a wrongful death suit against the other person unless new evidence was discovered during the course of the police investigation.

Do you think the mystery surrounding the death of Urooj Khan will be solved? Who do you think is responsible for Urooj being poisoned?

[Image Via AP Photo/M. Spencer Green]