Coroner: Lottery Winner Murdered With Cyanide

Urooj Khan's death officially ruled a homicide, but no no clues emerge

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 1, 2013 3:43 PM CST

(Newser) – It's official: Urooj Khan didn't die of natural causes. Cook County Medical Examiner Stephen Cina today ruled the lottery winner's death a homicide, saying he'd died of cyanide toxicity and confirming his initial diagnosis in January, CNN reports. But because there's no cyanide left in Khan's body, he was unable to determine how it might have gotten there. "Cyanide has a short half-life," Cina explained. "Due to advanced putrefaction of the tissue, no cyanide was detected."

Cina also added that coronary artery disease contributed to Khan's death—his arteries were 75% blocked—but that this only served to bolster the case for cyanide. "Since cyanide affects oxygen utilization in the tissues, it follows logically that a natural disease process that already limits blood flow to the heart could render an individual particularly susceptible to death due to this toxin." Khan died the day after being issued a $425,000 check for winning a scratch-off game. For all the details of the saga, click here.

Cook County medical examiner Stephen Cina, right, talks about the autopsy results on lottery winner Urooj Khan's body during a news conference, March 1, 2013, in Chicago.   (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
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