Lottery Winner Dead Of Cyanide Poisoning
CHICAGO (CBS) — Investigators have been trying to
determine how a 46-year-old man who won $1 million on an instant lottery
game last summer ended up dying from cyanide poisoning.
Urooj Kahn won a $1 million jackpot in a scratch-off game in June, after buying a ticket at a 7-Eleven in Rogers Park.
He repeatedly jumped for joy, and shouted “I hit a million!” but just days later he was dead.
Cook County Medical Examiner Dr. Stephen Cina said Monday the initial
autopsy ruled his death to be the result of natural causes.
“He did not have any obvious trauma. The initial investigation didn’t suggest anything suspicious about his death,” Cina said.
But days after Kahn died at St. Francis Hospital in Evanston, a
relative called the medical examiner’s office, saying something didn’t
“They just felt this didn’t seem likely, that it didn’t seem like it
could have been a natural to them, and they just wanted us to look a
little harder,” he said. “In forensics, you have to have an open mind,
and when additional information comes to light, you have to be willing
to revisit cases.”
So a new autopsy was ordered, and toxicology tests revealed a new cause of death: homicide by cyanide.
“Life’s not like CSI. Sometimes there’s not a smoking gun that leads us immediately toward the perfect conclusion,” Cina said.
Kahn lived an immigrant’s dream. Arriving from India with nothing, he owned several dry cleaners and rental property.
At Kahn’s shop on Western Avenue, his widow said she could write a
book about how great her husband was, but she didn’t want to talk on
Kahn was buried at Rosehill Cemetery, but the next step in the investigation could be exhuming his body.
“I’ve been in discussions with the Chicago Police Department, and
with the [Cook County] State’s Attorney’s office, and it looks like
we’re leaning in that direction,” Cina said.
Exhuming Kahn’s body could produce more detailed toxicology
information. Death by poisoning of any type is extremely rare. Of the
508 Chicagoans murdered last year, Kahn was the only one who was
Cina said, of the 4,400 autopsies he’s performed in his career, he’s had only one poisoning.
He said poisoning is so rare, he wrote about the case in a medical journal.
I wonder whodunit?