Dead Indian-American lottery winner Urooj Khan's body to be exhumed

Urooj Khan

A US judge gave the go-ahead to exhume the body of a million-dollar Indian-American lottery winner who died of cyanide poisoning.

Cook County probate judge Susan Coleman gave a quick OK to the request by the medical examiner's office, saying no one had objected to exhuming Urooj Khan's body at Rosehill Cemetery on Chicago's North Side, Chicago Tribune reported.

Khan's death is being investigated as a homicide after comprehensive toxicological tests showed he had lethal levels of cyanide in his blood.

It was not immediately known how quickly the body would be exhumed, but Coleman's order called for it "as soon as possible" since Khan's body was not embalmed before burial.

Court papers said the body was not embalmed, leading prosecutors to indicate that it was "critical" to arrange for the remains to be exhumed as soon as possible.

In an affidavit, Chief Medical Examiner Stephen J Cina said it was necessary to do a full autopsy to "further confirm the results of the blood analysis as well as to rule out any other natural causes that might have contributed to or caused Khan's death."

Khan, who owned a dry cleaning business on the city's North Side, died unexpectedly in July, just weeks after winning a million-dollar lottery prize 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 he was buried without an autopsy.

About a week later, a relative told authorities to take a closer look at Khan's death. By early December, comprehensive toxicology tests showed that Khan had died of a lethal amount of cyanide, leading the medical examiner's office to reclassify the death a homicide and prompting police and prosecutors to investigate.

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