Quantcast
Latest Stories

Wife says poisoned lottery winner had no enemies

By

This undated photo provided by the Illinois Lottery shows Urooj Khan, 46, of Chicago’s West Rogers Park neighborhood, posing with a winning lottery ticket. The Cook County medical examiner said Monday, Jan. 7, 2013, that Khan was fatally poisoned with cyanide July 20, 2012, a day after he collected nearly $425,000 in lottery winnings. (AP Photo/Illinois Lottery)

CHICAGO— The wife of an Indian-born lottery winner who was poisoned with cyanide said Tuesday she was devastated by his death and cannot believe her husband could have had enemies.

Shabana Ansari spoke to The Associated Press a day after news emerged that Urooj Khan, 46, died from cyanide poisoning in July. Prosecutors, Chicago police and the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office are investigating Khan’s death as a homicide, but they have not given any details or announced any suspects.

Ansari would not talk about the circumstances of her husband’s death, saying it was too painful to recall. She said only that he fell ill shortly after they had dinner together.

She described Khan as a hard-working and generous man who would send money to orphanages in their native India.

“I was shattered. I can’t believe he’s no longer with me,” said the short, soft-spoken Ansari, standing in one of three dry-cleaning businesses her husband started after immigrating to the U.S. from India in 1989.

Khan’s death on July 20 was initially ruled a result of natural causes. But a relative’s request for a deeper look resulted in the startling conclusion months later that Kahn was killed with the poison as he was about to collect $425,000 in winnings. Authorities won’t identify the relative. Ansari, who said she has spoken with police detectives about the case, said she was not the one who asked for a deeper investigation and that she doesn’t know who it was.

“I don’t think anyone would have a bad eye for him or that he had any enemy,” said Ansari, adding that she continues to work at the dry cleaner out of a desire to honor her husband and the businesses he built.

Khan planned to use the lottery winnings to pay off mortgages, expand his business and give a donation to the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Ansari said her husband did not have a will and the money is now tied up in probate.

She said she hopes the truth of what happened to her husband will come out. She said she could not recall anyone unusual or suspicious coming into their lives after the lottery win became public.

Chicago police Superintendent Garry McCarthy told reporters Tuesday that he had never seen anything like Khan’s case in his 32 years of policing in New York, New Jersey and now Chicago.

“So, I’m not going to say that I’ve seen everything,” McCarthy said.

Authorities plan to exhume Khan’s body in the next few weeks in hopes they might be able to test additional tissue samples and bolster evidence if the case goes to trial.

“It’s always good if and when the case goes to trial to have as much data as possible,” said Cook County Medical Examiner Stephen Cina. He added that he did not believe additional testing would change the conclusion that Khan was a homicide victim, saying those comprehensive toxicology results were validated in the lab.

“Based on the investigative information we have now and the (toxicology results), we’re comfortable where we are right now,” he said.

Ansari, 32, moved to the U.S. from India after marrying Khan 12 years ago.

Khan and his wife were born in Hyderabad, India, and their story is a typical immigrant’s tale of settling in a new land with big dreams and starting a business. Their 17-year-old daughter, Jasmeen, is a student here.

“Work was his passion,” Ansari said, adding that she plans to stay in the U.S. and keep his businesses running.

“I’m just taking care of his hard work,” she said.

She recalled going on the hajj, the Muslim pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia, with her husband in 2010, an awe-inspiring trip that was a first for both of them. One of Islam’s pillars requires every able-bodied Muslim to make the journey at least once in their lifetime.

She said her husband returned even more set on living a good life and stopped buying the occasional lottery ticket.

Nonetheless, he couldn’t resist buying one for an instant lottery game in June while at a 7-Eleven near his home in the West Rogers Park neighborhood on the city’s north side. It was a $1 million winner.

Khan opted for a lump sum of slightly more than $600,000. After taxes, the winnings amounted to about $425,000, said lottery spokesman Mike Lang. The check was issued on July 19, the day before Khan died.

Some other states allow winners to remain anonymous, but Illinois requires most winning ticket holders to appear for a news conference and related promotions, partly to prove that the state pays out prizes. Khan’s win didn’t draw much media attention, and Lang noted that press events for $1 million winners are fairly typical.

“We do several news conferences a month for various amounts,” he said.


Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Chicago police , cyanide , cyanide poisoning , Homicide , Illinois Lottery , Lottery Winner , wife




Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  2. Chinese lawyers say they were tortured by police
  3. Hair salon’s Kim Jong Un poster riles embassy
  4. Siquijor ‘healer’: For every cure, there’s a plant
  5. State seeks guilty verdict for Abalos
  6. Why college grads end up in the PNP
  7. Estrada: I will pray for my detractors
  8. Miraculous image makes Gapan City top site for pilgrimage in Central Luzon
  9. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  10. Five men from Cavite found dead in jeep in Batangas
  1. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  2. MH370 co-pilot made mid-flight phone call – report
  3. Netizens cry: 6/55 Lotto was rigged
  4. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  5. ‘Wife of Jesus’ theory papyrus not fake – Harvard study
  6. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  7. Gay college instructor arrested for oral sex with student
  8. ‘King’ Yabut and I: Driver bares Makati dad ‘abuses’
  9. It was difficult having Japanese blood
  10. Palace: We can’t blame increase in population on Vitangcol
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Pork payoffs to newscasters Erwin Tulfo, Del Prado, others bared
  4. UP back on top as ‘average’ student aces bar
  5. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  6. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  7. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  8. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  9. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  10. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’
Advertisement

News

  • After quake, makeshift churches welcome pilgrims in Bohol
  • UN warns banana fungus spreading from Southeast Asia
  • Massive infra spending set
  • ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  • Cardinal Tagle to faithful: Join politics to clean it
  • Sports

  • Federer would skip tennis to be with wife, newborn
  • Manny Pacquiao in PBA? If so, he’ll wear No. 17
  • PSC sets Blu Girls US training
  • Power Pinoys settle for 7th place
  • Successful coaches to get raise
  • Lifestyle

  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • This is not just a farm
  • Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  • Moist, extra-tender blueberry muffins
  • The truffled mac ‘n’ cheese, eggs benedict, chicken leg confit are excellent
  • Entertainment

  • Why Lucky has not bought an engagement ring for Angel
  • Derek more private with new girlfriend
  • ‘Community’ star happy with return of show’s creator
  • Jealousy is kid stuff
  • Mommy-daughter adventure continues
  • Business

  • PH presses bid to keep rice import controls
  • PSEi continues to gain
  • Number of retrenched workers rose by 42% in ’13
  • PH seen to sustain rise in FDIs
  • Gov’t subsidies to state firms fell in first 2 months
  • Technology

  • Smart phone apps and sites perfect for the Holy Week
  • Tech company: Change passwords or suffer ‘Heartbleed’
  • Filling the digital talent gap
  • SSS to shut down website for Holy Week
  • Another reason to quit social media this Holy Week: your safety
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • First Fil-Am elected to Sierra Madre, Calif. city council
  • UC Irvine cultural night to dramatize clash of values in immigrant family
  • Filipino sweets and info served at UC Berkeley Spring Fest
  • Milpitas, California kids wrap up a successful run of ‘The Wiz’
  • Netizens welcome Japan’s visa-free travel plan
  • Marketplace
    Advertisement