Poisoned Lottery Winner’s Murder Remains Unsolved

A poisoned lottery winner’s murder remains unsolved nearly four years later. In June 2012, Urooj Khan won $1 million on a scratch-off lottery ticket, which he purchased at a Chicago 7-Eleven convenience store. Fewer than two weeks later, the India native was dead. Although a medical examiner initially determined Khan died of natural causes, further investigation revealed the 46-year-old man was intentionally poisoned.

Born and raised in Hyderabad, Urooj Khan immigrated to the United States in 1989. He and his wife eventually started a dry cleaning business in Northwest Chicago. However, he often sent money back to India to support those who were less fortunate.

ABC News reports Khan was a “devout Muslim [who] had sworn off gambling after a religious pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia.” Despite his religious convictions, the Chicago man purchased one scratch-off lottery ticket from a neighborhood convenience store on a whim.

When he scratched the ticket, Urooj Khan was stunned to learn he won $1 million. Family and friends said the generous man planned to donate a portion of his winnings to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital after paying off his mortgage and expanding his dry-cleaning business. Unfortunately, the lottery winner was poisoned before he even received the check.

According to reports, Khan was found dead in his home on July 20, 2012. As there were no signs of injury or a struggle, his cause of death was initially listed as arterial sclerotic cardiovascular disease, which is commonly used when someone dies of unknown natural causes.

Despite the medical examiner’s ruling, Urooj Khan’s family urged authorities to reexamine the Chicago man’s untimely death. Using previously collected blood samples, pathologists discovered the lottery winner was poisoned with cyanide.

Although authorities ordered the exhumation of Khan’s body, pathologists were unable to confirm any further signs of cyanide poisoning because the substance was no longer present in the decomposed tissue.

Authorities admit they are unsure how the poison was administered or who would have wanted Urooj dead. However, the lottery winner’s cause of death was reclassified as homicide via cyanide poisoning.

Nearly four years after the lottery winner’s poisoning death, officials are still unsure who killed the Chicago man. However, Urooj Khan’s family believes they know who is responsible.

On the evening of his death, the Urooj had dinner with daughter, his wife Shabana Ansari, his brother-in-law, and his father-in-law. The Daily Mail reports that his wife was the only person to have access to the lottery winner’s food, as she prepared the meal.

Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi insists the investigation into Khan’s mysterious death is still open and active. However, the Chicago man’s family said they are disappointed that there has not been an arrest.

Urooj’s sister Meraj said she is convinced that her brother’s wife and father-in-law are solely responsible for the lottery winner’s poisoning death. Despite her certainty about the events leading up to her brother’s death, authorities have not identified any suspects or persons of interest.

Prior to his death, Urooj elected to receive his winnings in a lump sum of $425,000. Although the check was issued by the lottery commission, the Chicago man did not receive his winnings before he died. Therefore, the money became part of his estate.

As reported by the Daily Mail, Khan died without a will. Following months of hearings, the probate court eventually split the winnings between the dead lottery winner’s daughter and wife.

Despite the accusations by Urooj Khan’s family, Shabana Ansari vehemently denies any involvement in her husband’s death. At this time, authorities confirmed the Chicago man’s family was questioned numerous times about the night in question, but nobody was arrested or charged with poisoning the lottery winner.

[Image via Gordon/Shutterstock]