CHICAGO (CBS) – The Cook County Medical Examiner announced Friday that an autopsy of a poisoned lottery winner shed no new light on how cyanide got into his system.
Chief Medical Examiner Stephen Cina said Urooj Khan’s body was badly decomposed after it was exhumed in January, and an autopsy could find no cyanide in the remaining tissue.
“No cyanide was detected in the tissues, which were heavily putrefied and decomposed,” he said.
As a result, Cina said he could not determine if the cyanide was ingested with food, or introduced to his system in another manner.
“Ingestion is one way to get cyanide into the body. Inhalation’s another way. Injection would be another way. So there are several ways to get it into a body,” he said. “All we can say as forensic pathologists is that there’s a certain level of cyanide in the blood.”
Still, Cina insisted the cause of death was cyanide toxicity, with coronary artery disease being a contributing factor due to a 75 percent blockage in one of Khan’s arteries. Cina said Khan’s death was a homicide.
Khan, 46, died last July, less than a month after he won a $1 million prize on an instant lottery ticket, and before he could collect his winnings.
His death was initially ruled to be the result of natural causes, but his family pushed for a closer look, and tests of blood samples from his body showed lethal levels of cyanide, and the case was reclassified a homicide.
No suspects have been named in Khan’s death.
Meantime, Khan’s brother – who encouraged police to exhume Khan’s body – said he just wants justice.
Imtiaz Khan told WBBM Newsradio’s Lisa Fielding he had a dream shortly after his brother died, that told him something wasn’t right about Urooj Khan’s death.
“Every time, right from the day when I was going to his grave, when I went to see his body the first time at the hospital – I went ‘No. … No way, you cannot die like this. Something happened to you,” Imtiaz Khan said.
He said he’s glad to hear his instincts were right. but is frustrated that nothing more has been learned.
“I just want justice for my brother, and I want the people who murdered him to be caught, and behind bars,” he said.
Imtiaz Khan said he’s been in touch with the medical examiner’s office, and hopes more tests will determine how his brother was poisoned.