Widow Questioned About Cyanide Victim's Last Meal

Shabana Ansari says her husband grew ill about six hours after dinner but can't accept that someone intentionally slipped him cyanide

View Comments ()



    Shabana Ansari says her husband ate dinner between 8:30 and 9:00 one night last July and grew ill at about 3 a.m. Phil Rogers reports. (Published Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013)

    At the north side cleaners where Urooj Khan built a piece of the American dream, his widow, Shabana Ansari, said that even now, she still doesn’t believe anyone could have poisoned her husband.

    "He was an extremely great person," Ansari said. "Nobody could be his enemies."

    Lottery Winner Poisoned With Cyanide

    [CHI] Lottery Winner Poisoned With Cyanide
    Urooj Khan, 46, won $424,449.60 in Illinois Lottery but grew ill shortly after collecting his winnings. Phil Rogers reports. (Published Monday, Jan. 7, 2013)

    Ansari admitted that police questioned her about the ingredients of Khan’s last meal, served July 20 of last year. The day before, state lottery officials had cut Khan a check for more than $425,000.

    He never saw the money.

    Documents Show Battle Over Poisoned Lottery Winner's Estate

    [CHI] Documents Show Battle Over Poisoned Lottery Winner's Estate
    Court documents shed no light on the circumstances of Khan's death, but add a layer of drama to the story. Dick Johnson reports. (Published Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013)

    Now, as his survivors battle over the prize in probate court, police are probing what the Cook County Medical Examiner says was a lethal dose of cyanide which snuffed out Khan’s life.

    Ansari says Khan ate dinner between 8:30 and 9:00 that evening and grew ill at about 3 a.m. But she said she still couldn’t accept that someone intentionally slipped him the cyanide which killed him.

    "That is my biggest and terrible loss, which is incomparable," Khan said. "I know I loved my husband, and that -- no one would kill him."

    Prosecutors are expected to go before a Cook County judge Friday morning to ask that Khan’s body be exhumed for further tests. His widow said she does not oppose that effort.

    "It’s sad," she said. "But for the truth to come out, God will reveal the truth."

    She conceded that there is an ongoing battle over Khan’s $2 million estate.

    "Not exactly a fight," she said.

    Brother-in-law Mohammed Zaman had no comment about the financial battle Thursday, saying his interest had only centered on Khan’s daughter. He and his wife, Khan’s sister, now have custody of the teenager, who he said wanted out of the house after her father’s death.

    "She was not comfortable living there," he said. "She was depressed over there."

    Zaman said the girl was home the night her father died but did not eat the meal her father enjoyed hours before his death.

    "No, she ate some different stuff," he said. "Some rice and other stuff."

    And Zaman very pointedly noted that no outsiders had access to the home, the night his brother-in-law was allegedly poisoned.

    "No one was visiting them," he said. "He went from work straight home [and] ate his last dinner. She cooked the last meal."

    He is careful not to speculate about who might have wanted to see his relative dead.

    "I cannot say that, no. I cannot point to anybody," he said.

    Back at the cleaners, as his daughter worked among the racks of shirts and jackets, Faredoon Ansari, the victim’s father-in-law, noted that he was with him the day he won his prize.

    "He told me, 'Uncle, I won everything!'" Ansari said. "'Now I don’t have any more dues. I’ve paid them all.'"