By Jason Meisner
5:45 PM CST, January 9, 2013
Cook County authorities continue to move toward exhuming the body of a Chicago man who died of cyanide poisoning weeks after winning a $1 million lottery jackpot.
Cook County prosecutors are drafting court papers and expect a judge to hear the matter on Friday at the Daley Center courthouse, Sally Daly, a spokeswoman for State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, said today.
Chief Medical Examiner Stephen J. Cina sent a sworn statement to prosecutors on Tuesday explaining why an autopsy was needed in order to ensure a complete investigation.
The exhumation could take place as soon as next week, according to sources familiar with the process.
The mystery surrounding Urooj Khan's death has sparked international media interest.
As first reported by the Tribune in a front-page story on Monday, Khan died suddenly last July just weeks after winning a million-dollar prize.
Finding no trauma to his body and no unusual substances in his blood, the medical examiner's office declared his death to be from natural causes and he was buried at Rosehill Cemetery without an autopsy.
About a week later, a relative told the medical examiner’s office to take a closer look at the 46-year-old’s death. By early December, comprehensive toxicology tests showed that Khan had died of a lethal amount of cyanide, prompting Chicago police and county prosecutors to investigate his homicide.
While a motive has not been determined yet, police haven't ruled out that Khan was killed because of his lottery win, a law enforcement source has told the Tribune.
Khan, the owner of three dry cleaners on the North Side, died before he could collect the lump-sum winnings – about $425,000 after taxes.
The Tribune reported in Wednesday’s newspaper that authorities investigating the homicide executed a search warrant at the home he had shared with his wife, Shabana Ansari.
She later was interviewed by detectives for more than four hours, answering all their questions, according to her attorney, Steven Kozicki.