Cook County Medical Examiner, Dr. Stephen Cina, performed a post-exhumation autopsy on the body of Urooj Khan and the inconclusive results were revealed yesterday at a press conference at the County Building. It was Urooj Khan who was the million dollar lottery winner that died of cyanide poisoning. The post-exhumation autopsy could not confirm how the toxin entered his body, according to Cook County Medical Examiner Dr. Stephen Cina. Because of the advanced decay of tissue and short biological life of cyanide, this could not be determined conclusively.
“Cyanide has a short half-life and may be lost over the postmortem period unless tissues are adequately preserved,” Dr. Stpehen Cina said. “In this case, due to advanced putrefaction of the tissues, no cyanide was detectable in the tissues or small amounts of gastric contents recovered following exhumation of the body.”
A lethal level of cyanide was detected in the initial blood sample taken by the Medical Examiner’s office on July 21, 2012. That finding was confirmed last month by an independent toxicology lab.
“This sample was preserved with sodium fluoride in accordance with office practice,” Dr. Cina said. “The sample was retested in our toxicology laboratory and at NMS Labs, and the positive results were confirmed.”
The post-exhumation autopsy also revealed severe stenosis (75 percent) of one of Mr. Khan’s major coronary arteries, Dr. Cina said.
“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,” he said. “For this reason, coronary artery disease is deemed a contributory factor to this fatality.”
The Medical Examiner has determined that Mr. Khan, 46, died of cyanide toxicity and ruled the manner of death a homicide. The autopsy results have been turned over to the Chicago Police Department.
Send John Presta an email and your story ideas or suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
John is the author of an award-winning book, the 2010 Winner of the USA National Best Book award for African-American studies, published by The Elevator Group Mr. and Mrs. Grassroots: How Barack Obama, Two Bookstore Owners, and 300 Volunteers did it. Also available an eBook on Amazon. John is also a member of the Society of Midland Authors and is a book reviewer of political books for the New York Journal of Books. John has volunteered for many political campaigns.