EXCLUSIVE: Ex-wife of murdered Illinois Lottery winner speaks out

When Granger resident Maria Jones saw a news story about Urooj Khan's suspicious death by cyanide poisoning, she was shocked.

"I think they just said Urooj Khan was dead, poisoned or something like that. And, I'm thinking, 'Oh my God, my daughter.'"

Khan and Jones were married for three years in the late '90s and had a daughter, Jasmeen, together.

Jones said their relationship fell apart because Khan was verbally abusive and demanded Jasmeen and his step-son be raised Muslim, not Catholic.

So, Jones filed for divorce.

During the heated legal battle, Khan won custody of their daughter.

Jones was allowed regular visits with her daughter, but shortly after the divorce, Khan took Jasmeen to India without notifying her.

" I thought, 'How can he do that?' According to the divorce, he was supposed to let me know. He was supposed to send me a written letter," Jones said.

She called Khan's family in India, who put them in contact with her ex-husband.

Khan told Jones they planned to stay in India because Jasmeen liked it there.

But, when Jones spoke to her daughter on the phone, she heard a different story.

"She didn't know how far she was. She said, 'Oh mommy, come and get me. Come and get me. I don't want to be here.'"

That was the last time Jones spoke to her daughter.

Since that conversation 13 years ago, Jones assumed her daughter was still living in India with Khan.

Not a day went by where she didn't think of Jasmeen; every September, Jones counts down the years until her daughter's 18.

She was hopeful Jasmeen would reach out to her once she became a legal adult.

But, the tragic news of Khan's murder gives Jones hope for a more speedy reunion.

She learned Jasmeen is living less than 200 miles away in Chicago after reading news articles online.

After hours of searching, Jones found a picture of her daughter online; it's the first glimpse she got of the young woman Jasmeen's become.

"It was just the greatest joy. It was like, wow. I finally see her."

Jones says it's difficult knowing Jasmeen is grieving and she can't be there to comfort her.

But, in time, she hopes they'll be reunited -- and that their mother-daughter bond will still be intact.

"I wish that I can have a chance to see her. And talk to her. And she can get to know me," Jones said. "I was just wishing when I came to see my daughter, it wouldn't be in this devastating situation."

Jones hasn't made contact with Jasmeen yet.

She can be reached by contacting NewsCenter 16.


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