- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 8, 2013

CHICAGO (AP) — Authorities plan to exhume the body of a Chicago lottery winner poisoned with a lethal dose of cyanide as detectives move forward with a homicide investigation, the medical examiner said Tuesday.

Prosecutors, Chicago police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office are trying to unravel precisely how Urooj Khan, 46, was killed and have not publicly identified any suspects.

Khan’s death on July 20 was initially ruled a result of natural causes, but a relative’s request for a deeper look resulted in the startling conclusion months later that Kahn was killed with the poison as he was about to collect $425,000 in winnings.

Exhuming the body could allow investigators to do more tests on tissue samples that could bolster evidence if the case goes to trial, explained Cook County Medical Examiner Stephen Cina.

“It’s always good if and when the case goes to trial to have as much data as possible,” he said.

He hopes to exhume the body in the next few weeks, once a judge has approved it.

The mysterious death has surprised investigators, who have not made any details public.

Chicago police Superintendent Garry McCarthy told reporters Tuesday that he had never seen anything like it in his 32 years of policing in New York, New Jersey and now Chicago.

“So, I’m not going to say that I’ve seen everything,” Superintendent McCarthy said.

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 June and bought a ticket for an instant lottery game.

Khan once played the lottery regularly but had sworn off gambling after returning from the hajj, the Muslim pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia, because he sought to lead a better life, according to the 7-Eleven clerk who sold him the ticket.

But Khan couldn’t resist and scratched off a $1 million winner in front of clerk Ashur Oshana.

“Right away he grabbed my hand,” Mr. Oshana told The Associated Press Monday. “He kissed my hand and kissed my head and gave me $100. He was really happy.”

At an Illinois Lottery ceremony days later, Khan recalled that he jumped up and down in the store and repeatedly shouted, “I hit a million!”

“Winning the lottery means everything to me,” he said at the June 26 ceremony, also attended by his wife, Shabana Ansari; their daughter, Jasmeen Khan; and several friends. He said he would put some winnings into his businesses and donate some to a children’s hospital.

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