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Cyanide Lottery Winner Death: Wife Questioned
Police investigating the cyanide death of a US lottery winner questioned his wife for more than four hours and searched their house in the months following his death.
Urooj Khan died on July 20, 2012, a day after the $425,000 (£264,000) cheque from his win was issued.
Shabana Ansari, 32, was questioned at a police station in November and detectives also searched their family home, her lawyer revealed.
Her attorney, Steven Kozicki, said Ms Ansari maintains she had nothing to do with the death of Mr Khan.
"In any case where a husband dies in that manner, sure they're going to talk to the spouse," Mr Kozicki said.
"That's what they've done... I believe that she had nothing to do with his death.
"She vehemently says that she had nothing to do with his death."
Police have not put forward a possible motive for what they now believe was an intentional poisoning nor said publicly if anyone is considered a suspect.
Authorities initially ruled Mr Khan's death a result of natural causes, but a relative's request for a deeper look resulted in the startling conclusion months later that the 46-year-old was killed with a lethal dose of cyanide.
Further tests had showed he was poisoned and his death was reclassified as a homicide.
Ms Ansari said she was not the one who asked for the deeper investigation and that she does not know who did. Police will not identify the relative.
Earlier this week, authorities said they planned to exhume Mr Khan's body in the next few weeks in hopes they might be able to test additional tissue samples and bolster evidence if the case goes to trial.
Mr Khan, who owned a number of dry cleaners, planned to use the lottery winnings to pay off mortgages, expand his business and give a donation to a hospital.
In an interview on Tuesday, Ms Ansari described her husband as a hard-working and generous man who would send money to orphanages in their native India.
"I was shattered. I can't believe he's no longer with me," said Ms Ansari.
Ms Ansari moved to the US from India after marrying Mr Khan 12 years ago.
Mr Khan bought the winning $1m (£620,000) scratch card at a 7-Eleven shop near his home in West Rogers Park, Chicago.
Instead of taking the full amount in instalments, Mr Khan opted for a lump sum of just over $600,000 (£372,000). After taxes, the winnings amounted to about $425,000.
Mr Khan's cheque was cashed on August 15. If a lottery winner dies, the money normally goes to his or her estate.