Maria Jones says Urooj Khan took their daughter to India 13 years ago. Allison Rosati reports.
The death of an Illinois lottery winner brought with it a shocking realization for that man's ex-wife: the daughter she thought was living in India was just two hours away.
"I was thinking, 'Oh, my God. My daughter," Maria Jones recalled of the moment she saw footage of her daughter, Jasmeen, standing next to Urooj Khan as he collected his lottery winnings.
Jones and Khan were married for three years, she said. But during their bitter divorce, Jones said she didn't have the resources to fight for custody. Khan took the girl to India and told his ex-wife he planned to stay there.
"She was just like any other little girl; a joy. She loved me to death," said Jones, who now lives in Indiana.
That move was 13 years ago. Jones tearfully recalled the final phone conversation she had with her daughter a few years after the move.
"She didn't know how far she was. She said, 'Oh, mommy. Come and get me. I don't want to be here," she said.
In the years that passed, Jones said she held tightly to the few memories she had of the girl but had no idea Khan the Jasmeen had moved to Illinois.
Khan died shortly after winning the lottery. The Cook County Medical Examiner said he was poisoned with cyanide.
Jones said her greatest regret is that she can't be with her daughter as she faces this family tragedy.
"There is no telling what she is going through and I'm just so sorry that I can't be there with her," she said. "I love her with all my heart, and she was always, every minute, every second, in my thoughts and my prayers."