A lottery winner was exhumed Friday by the Cook County medical examiner’s office after toxicology results showed he died of cyanide poisoning. Experts say that that death by cyanide poisoning is very rare and thus the lottery winner was exhumed for a full autopsy.
Urooj Khan was the lucky lottery winner of a $1 million lottery scratch-off game that would have paid him $425,000 after taxes. His luck ran out when he died the next day. As previously reported by The Inquisitr, the Cook County medical examiner had concluded that the winner of the instant lottery died of cyanide poisoning one day later, rather than by natural causes as originally ruled. But as the Los Angeles Times reports a “full autopsy was never performed because the death appeared to be natural and Khan’s body bore no signs of trauma.”
CNN says the Chicago police are investigating it as a murder, and are working closely with the medical examiner’s office. The Inquistr has previously reported that the sudden death had the family quarreling. Urooj Khan’s widow and siblings had fought quite a while over the businessman’s estate, and later his winnings. His father-in-law was in tax debt for thousands of dollars.
Despite all the intrigue, it was the family that requested a second look into Urroj Khan’s death, and now have the lottery winner exhumed. Dr. Robert Geller, medical director of the Georgia Poison Center and an associate professor at Emory University School of Medicine, explains why the cyanide poisoning was not found in the first place:
“The harder you want to find something, the more expensive it is, and this country’s forensic labs run on a shoestring budget. Cyanide does break down in the body fairly quickly, so they may not find much…. Many people think, with this kind of poisoning being rare and something that may not be seen, that this would be a murder someone could get away with. But clearly it is not, since they did figure out this was cyanide, and there is a very good likelihood someone will get caught.”
Dr. Daniel J. Spitz, a forensic pathologist and toxicologist and the chief medical examiner for Michigan’s Macomband St. Clair counties, agrees with this assessment:
“Now that he’s been buried and embalmed, you don’t have the ideal situation.”
As we find the lottery winner exhumed, police now turn to a game of who dun it. In order for someone to die from cyanide poisoning quickly, he or she would have to inhale or consume a large quantity, making it very likely the crime may be traced back to the murderer.