Story by 89 WLS reporter Bill Cameron
The autopsy is over.
Here at the Cook County morgue, there are no answers to the whodunit yet, but the medical examiner Dr. Stephen Cina says they got to the seriously decomposed body in time to recover evidence, “we were able to recover some stomach contents and they will be tested.”
Dr. Cina said it will take at least a few weeks to make a finding and he promised us we will be the 5th or 25th to know the results.
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It took just under 90 minutes for the crew at a North Side cemetery to exhume the remains of Urooj Khan, who died from cyanide poisoning six months ago — after winning a $1 million lottery jackpot.
His remains will be autopsied Friday — an examination that will also involve testing organs such as the liver and stomach contents to determine whether he inhaled or ate the cyanide that killed him back in July, the Sun-Times is reporting.
Dr. Stephen Cina, the chief medical examiner who asked for and won a court order for the exhumation, recently told the Sun-Times that further testing on the remains may help prosecutors if anyone is ever charged in Khan's death. No one has been named a suspect.
With at least one of Khan's family members — a brother — and investigators with the Chicago Police and Cook County Medical Examiner's office looking on, the coffin was removed from a grave in the Muslim section of Rosehill Cemetery on the city's North Side.
An imam was present to offer prayers during the exhumation. Crews began working in earnest about 7:30 a.m., with a backhoe operator and staffers shoveling the cold earth to first get to the burial vault, then the coffin.
A green tent was erected over the gravesite at one point to allow the coffin to be raised from the ground out of view of throngs of media, who were not allowed to get close to the scene. By 8:50 a.m., the coffin was loaded into a hearse.
Minutes later, a procession including marked Chicago police squads — blue emergency lights running — exited the cemetery for the medical examiner's office where a more thorough examination of the body will be conducted. It could take "weeks" before test results on the body come back, said medical examiner's office spokeswoman Mary Paleologos.
Law enforcement on hand for the exhumation included three Chicago Police evidence technicians — including one who videotaped the exhumation and another who took still photos — along with at least one detective. The deputy chief investigator, a staff investigator from the medical examiner's office and the doctor who conducted the original exam — and will be conducting the follow-up autopsy — also observed the exhumation, Paleologos said.
Khan's remains will be re-interred Monday, according to the medical examiner's office.
Khan's death came on the heels of winning a $1 million state lottery jackpot. Initially, his death was ruled from natural causes: hardening of the arteries. Days later, a relative contacted the medical examiner's office and said the doctor who handled the case should take a closer look.
Only an external exam was conducted in July because there was nothing to indicate his death was suspicious, Cina told the Sun-Times.
Further toxicology tests revealed in September — weeks after he was buried — that the 46-year-old Khan had died from a lethal dose of cyanide. In November, his death was reclassified a homicide by the medical examiner's office.
In recent weeks, Khan's widow Shabana Ansari, told the Sun-Times she fully supported the exhumation. She said she hopes the follow-up exam will reveal "the truth."
"I really want them to go for it because I really want to know what exactly happened," Ansari said. "I wish God will reveal the truth — the sooner the better."
The night before his death the family sat down for a meal in their West Rogers Park home. Ansari said she had prepared a traditional Indian kofta — a meal that would be his last. She denies having anything to do with her husband's death.
"No, I loved him to death," the 32-year-old said. "I loved him and he loved me the same way."
© Copyright 2013 Sun-Times Media, LLC
CHICAGO (AP) - Authorities have exhumed the body of a Chicago man who was poisoned with cyanide after winning the lottery.
The Cook County Medical Examiner's Office wants to determine exactly how Urooj (oo-ROOJ') Khan died. Spokeswoman Mary Paleologos (PEHL'-ee-oh-loh-gohs) said Friday the autopsy will be performed immediately.
The body was taken away in a black hearse escorted by four police cars.
Examiners will take blood, tissue, bone, hair and nail samples. They'll also examine the lungs, liver, spleen and contents of the stomach and intestines. It will take two to three weeks to get test results.
Khan died in July as he was about to collect $425,000 in lottery winnings. His death initially was ruled a result of natural causes. But a relative asked for further tests, which revealed he was poisoned.
Copyright © 201 Associated Press