When Urooj Khan bought two lottery tickets this summer, he had long decided not to gamble anymore and lead a more virtuous life. He hit the $1 million (€762,660) jackpot with one of them and, just one month later, the day before the check arrived at his house, he was dead.
The Chicago Tribune reports that Khan and his family decided to cash in the winnings in one lump sum: about $600,000 (€457,212) after taxes, which he wanted to use to expand his local dry-cleaning business.
His wife and teenage daughter describe him as a most loving, caring and extremely hard-working man, the kind who would never hurt a fly.
When he was rushed to the hospital in pain just one month after hitting the jackpot, no one had reason to suspect foul play, so his death was attributed to natural causes.
The police have now reopened the case and are treating it as a homicide after they determined Khan had died from cyanide poisoning. His is the only death by poisoning in a very violent 2012, the aforementioned publication notes.
“If a family member has a concern that seems valid, we take those seriously. We can't (ordinarily) look for every toxin under the sun like a CSI episode,” a police spokesperson says for The Chicago Tribune.
They did test though for drugs and, upon finding no strange substances in Khan’s body, ruled that his death was of natural causes.
The preliminary results in September showed cyanide in Khan's system but not if it was at lethal levels. The office held off on changing Khan's manner of death but contacted Chicago police about the findings.
“By early December, the final results showed Khan had enough cyanide in his blood to kill him. The office changed its ruling on the death to homicide,” the same media outlet says.
Police are now considering exhuming the body for further investigation. Khan’s wife and daughter were at home when he was poisoned, but the report says nothing out of the ordinary happened otherwise: he came home a bit later, ate dinner and went to bed.
He was rushed to the hospital in pain, screaming, and was pronounced dead on arrival. The report doesn’t reveal the identity of the family member who alerted the police to the possibility of poisoning.