CHICAGO (AP) - The Cook County medical examiner's office says it will likely be the end of next week before the exhumation of the body of a Chicago lottery winner.
Urooj Khan was fatally poisoned with cyanide just as he was about to collect his $425,000 payout. Medical examiner spokeswoman Mary Paleologos said Friday that there's no fixed date yet for Khan's exhumation. Earlier Friday a judge approved the request to unearth Urooj Khan's body in investigator's search for additional clues.
Paleologos says a full autopsy would most likely be conducted the day after the exhumation and Khan's body would be reburied quickly after that's done. Final results would be released after about two weeks.
She says the original funeral director would attend the exhumation to verify the remains are Khan.
CHICAGO (AP) - The sister of a Chicago lottery winner who was fatally poisoned with cyanide just as he was about to collect his $425,000 says she hoped her brother would rest in peace but understands a decision to exhume his body.
Urooj Khan's sister spoke Friday outside a Cook County courtroom after a judge granted permission for the exhumation.
Marez Khan says the idea that her brother's body would be unearthed was difficult but it appears to be the only way to confirm what happened. She says, "We have to have justice served."
An attorney for the lottery winners' wife says she also doesn't oppose the exhumation.
But Al-Haroon Husain says the wife wants to ensure certain Islamic religious practices are adhered to during the procedure. He didn't elaborate.
Copyright © 2013 Associated Press
A Cook County judge on Friday approved the exhumation of Urooj Khan, the lottery winner who died from cyanide poisoning, the Sun-Times is reporting.
Judge Susan Coleman found the request to be "reasonable and sufficient," and there were no objections from lawyers for various family members and the estate.
It was not immediately known how quickly the body would be exhumed, but Coleman's order called for it "as soon as possible" since Khan's body was not embalmed before burial.
A spokesman for the Cook County Medical Examiner's office said the exhumation could take place next Thursday.
"I'm glad. We're glad," said Khan's brother-in-law, Mohammed Zaman, one of numerous family members at the hearing. "Finally we'll know what happened. I want them to go to the bottom."
Zaman wouldn't speculate as to whether anyone intentionally poisoned Khan.
"We have no clue. We're not pointing fingers," he said.
Zaman did, however, make a point to say that there were only four people in the house the night Khan died: Khan, his wife, daughter and father-in-law.
On Thursday, Khan's future father-in-law talked about when Khan was a boy in his native India.
"I raised him up from the age of 12 years," Fareedun Ansari, 71, said Thursday.
Zaman told the Sun-Times the relationship between Khan and Ansari had soured recently.
"He was complaining about his father-in-law," Zaman said. "He was not too comfortable about him."
Zaman wouldn't go into specifics, citing the ongoing criminal investigation into Khan's death. Fareedun Ansari's name surfaced this week after documents showed he was in financial trouble in 2011, owing $124,000 in back federal taxes.
Ansari, who lived under Urooj Khan's West Rogers Park roof and was at home the night investigators say Khan died, was adamant that he had nothing to do with the lottery winner's death.
"Nothing. Nothing," Ansari said, fighting a sore throat.
Federal tax liens filed against Ansari in February and March of 2011 show Ansari owed a combined $124,000 in back taxes from 2010, according to Cook County Recorder of Deeds office records.
James Pittacora, Ansari's attorney, said Thursday he thinks Fareedun Ansari and Khan were close.
"From what I understand, they had a great relationship … no hostilities," Pittacora said.
Pittacora said that his client has not been interviewed by detectives investigating the death of the 46-year-old Khan.
Asked if there are any plans to do so, Pittacora said, "I don't know."
Initially, Khan's death was classified as stemming from natural causes — hardening of the arteries.
But a relative called the medical examiner's office and told the doctor handling the case to take a closer look. After some toxicology tests, Khan's death was reclassified as a homicide: cyanide poisoning.
No suspects have been named in the case, but the medical examiner says Khan's body should be exhumed to determine how the cyanide got into his system.
Khan's widow, a weary-looking Shabana Ansari, told an international group of reporters Thursday that she's cooperating with investigators, and she questioned a probate case that claims she might cut out Khan's daughter from a previous marriage from any assets.
"I was taking care of her all these years," Shabana Ansari said. "How could I do an injustice to her?"
The probate case, in the Circuit Court of Cook County, involves one of Khan's brothers, ImTiaz Khan, who wants a judge to force Citibank to release his brother's "account information and assets," according to court filings.
ImTiaz Khan, through his attorney, claims Urooj Khan's daughter from a previous marriage, Jasmeen, Shabana Ansari's stepdaughter, might not receive "her proper share" of the estate because "Ms. Ansari may be attempting to control [her husband's] accounts," according to court documents.
"As administrator of the estate, ImTiaz Khan respectfully requests that he be allowed to collect the lottery check payable to Urooj Khan, unfreeze the check, and deposit the funds into an estate account in order to preserve the asset for the decedent's daughter," according to court documents.
Zaman, 46, who is married to Urooj Khan's sister Meraj Khan, stood on the front steps of the family's bungalow on busy West Howard on Thursday and said his family is "devastated" by his death and is eager for answers.
"Everybody has to die, but not that way," Zaman said. "We didn't expect our brother to be the victim of a homicide."
Zaman insists he doesn't know which relative tipped off investigators that Urooj Khan's death might not be natural, as the medical examiner's office originally classified it.
"It's unusual — people don't collapse and die overnight," Zaman said.
© Copyright 2013 Sun-Times Media, LLC
CHICAGO (AP) - A judge has granted authorities permission to exhume the body of a Chicago lottery winner who was fatally poisoned with cyanide just as he was about to collect his $425,000 payout.
Cook County Circuit Court Associate Judge Susan Coleman signed off on the request Friday from prosecutors and the medical examiner.
Urooj Khan's July 20 death was initially ruled a result of natural causes. But a concerned relative asked authorities to look deeper, triggering further toxicology exams that led to the conclusion in November that the 46-year-old businessman was intentionally poisoned.
Police have not announced any suspects, and the man's wife denies any involvement in his death.
Medical Examiner Stephen Cina says he hopes to gather additional evidence through more tests on the body that could be presented in court.
Copyright © 2013 Associated Press