Chicago: The brother of an Indian-origin businessman, who died of cyanide poisoning here days after he won a million dollar lottery, says that he pressed authorities to review the initial finding that his sibling died of natural causes.
46-year old Urooj Khan, who owned a dry cleaning business here, died mysteriously in July last year, just weeks after winning a lottery at a 7-Eleven store near his home.
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 buried him without an autopsy.
When Urooj`s brother Imtiaz Khan claimed the body in July last year at the morgue, he had pleaded with an employee there to take another look at his brother`s death, the Chicago Tribune reported.
"I said, `No, my brother cannot die like this. He was so healthy. I have suspicions about this. It cannot be natural. Please go and look into more details about it," Khan said.
Urooj`s death seemed far too coincidental to accept, especially because his USD 1 million lottery win weeks earlier had created some tension within his family, Khan was quoted as saying in the report.
Acting on Khan`s plea, authorities ordered a review at Urooj`s death. By early December, toxicology tests showed that Urooj had died of a lethal amount of cyanide, leading the medical examiner`s office to term the death a homicide and prompting fresh investigations.
Khan said, and the medical examiner`s office confirmed, that he never specifically mentioned fears of poisoning, but his concerns led the medical examiner to reopen the case, the Tribune report said.
"Every time I`d go to work I would just keep talking about my brother and keep thinking about him as if he`s standing in front of me," said Khan, who works at a suburban post office. "He was such an enjoyable person. He can`t go like this. ... It`s my love for my brother that made me keep saying he didn`t die of natural causes."
Urooj, who had moved to US from his home in Hyderabad in 1989, died without a will, opening the door for a court battle. The businessman`s widow and siblings have been fighting for months over his estate, including the lottery check.
Urooj`s widow, Shabana Ansari, and other relatives have denied any role in his death.