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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Authorities investigating after tests reveal Chicago lottery winner died of cyanide poisoning

Urooj Khan had returned to Chicago from the hajj pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia inspired to lead a better life and had sworn off buying lottery tickets -- except just this once.

To his astonishment, the scratch-off ticket was a $1 million winner. But just as he was about to collect his money, Khan died suddenly. There were no signs of trauma and nothing suspicious, and the Cook County Medical Examiner's office said he died July 20 of natural causes.

Now, authorities have determined that Khan, 46, ingested a lethal dose of cyanide. The finding, spurred by a relative's pleas for an expanded screening, has triggered a homicide investigation, the Chicago Police Department said Monday.

"It's pretty unusual," said Cook County Medical Examiner Stephen Cina, commenting on the rarity of cyanide poisonings. "I've had one, maybe two cases out of 4,500 autopsies I've done."

Khan, who owned a number of dry cleaners, stopped in at the convenience store near his home in the West Rogers Park neighborhood on the city's North Side in the summer and bought a ticket for an instant lottery game. Full Article

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