SIU Student's Family Questions Mysterious Death

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The family of a Southern Illinois University student who died under mysterious circumstances are demanding answers to who he died. Michelle Relerford reports. (Published Friday, Apr 18, 2014)

    The family of a Southern Illinois University student who died under mysterious circumstances are demanding answers to how he died.

    The body of Pravin Varughese, a 19-year-old sophomore from Morton Grove, was found Feb. 18 in a wooded area in the 1400 block of East Main Street in Carbondale, five days after he went missing.

    According to Carbondale police, Varughese ran into the woods after getting into a fight with a recent acquaintance who gave him a ride from a party.

    The coroner ruled hypothermia as the official cause of death, believing he got lost with temperatures in the single digits.

    But now that toxicology results have come back negative, the family believes it indicates something else happened.

    "They said he had no drugs in his system, no alcohol in his blood. If he was not drunk, what do you think happened? How did he die of hypothermia?" the victim's mother, Lovely Varughese said.

    The family has hired a private investigator to help find out how the cross country runner, swimmer and avid biker without any medical issues ended up dead in the woods. The family has also hired a forensic pathologist to conduct a second autopsy, but those results are not in yet.

    "We have so many unanswered questions, so many. We just really need to know what happened to him," Lovely Varughese said.

    The family wants police to take a closer look at the driver who gave Pravin the ride that night -- possibly the last person to see him alive.

    "He had bruises, like punch marks, one on his forehead, a big one, that we noticed right away," Lovely Varughese said.

    The Jackson County State's Attorney is reviewing the case.