A Morton Grove mother is demanding action after an independent autopsy determined her son, a Southern Illinois University student, did not die as originally thought.
The body of Pravin Varughese, 19, was found in February in a wooded area in Carbondale earlier this year.
The official autopsy determined Varughese died from hypothermia, but the victim's family hired its own forensic pathologist who determined the student died from blunt force trauma to the head and multiple injuries.
"I really think somebody hurt him. Put him there that day or put him back," the victim's mother, Lovely Varughese, said. "He had no frostbite. That's what made me suspicious."
Varughese, a nurse, said wounds and bruises all over her son's body that she wasn't initially allowed to see also made the stated cause of death harder to accept. She said he had bruises on his head and arms that looked like defensive wounds.
The family also 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.
Varughese said police have not responded to the findings of the independent autopsy and the family is still seeking answers.
"It's probably a cover up or pure negligence," Varughese said.
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.
He had been missing for days when police discovered his body Feb. 18 in the 1400 block of East Main Street in the Southern Illinois town.
Later that month, the coroner ruled hypothermia as the official cause of death, believing Varughese got lost in the woods with temperatures in the single digits. Toxicology results came back negative, and the family believes it indicates something else happened.
The family wants police to take a closer look at the driver who gave Varughese the ride that night -- possibly the last person to see him alive.