Autopsy: Pravin Was Beaten Before He Died

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By Sam Jones
By Andy Shofstall

JACKSON COUNTY-- It's been almost four months since the body of Pravin Varughese was found in a wooded area on the east side of Carbondale.

He'd been missing for five days. Police never suspected foul play and initially reported he died of hypothermia. Now Pravin's family says their independent autopsy shows he was beaten up before he died.

“From the day I saw him there, it was telling me inside my son was hurt,” his mother Lovely Varughese said.

She always suspected there was more to the story. At the funeral home, she noticed bruises on Pravin's body, but authorities ruled out foul play from the start

“Maybe it's too convenient for them to close the case,” Lovely told News 3.

The family's 22-page independent autopsy report includes dramatic findings. It states Pravin suffered three blunt-force injuries to the face, compatible with fists dealing the blows. The report also found bruises on his knees, blood in his nose, and wounds that suggest Pravin was defending himself

“They rushed to conclusions without facts. They brushed this off as just another problem they have with the students,” Charles Stegmeyer added.

Stegmeyer, the family's lawyer, says Carbondale didn't count on Lovely's tenacity.

Police said Pravin died of hypothermia, but Stegmeyer says the second autopsy showed no signs of frostbite.

“In all my experience, it's about as shocking as I've ever seen,” Stegmeyer said.

At Monday's Human Relations Commission meeting in Carbondale, Chair Jerrold Hennrich read a statement from Lovely Varughese expressing her frustration with police and specifically state's attorney Mike Carr.

“He told me there was compelling evidence that Pravin was drinking that night, and asked me how I would feel if I was told that Pravin was dealing drugs. And he has text messages as proof; he warned me he would make that report public and it wouldn’t look pretty,” Hennrich read from Lovely's statement.

The Varughese family says they will not release their full autopsy report until Carbondale authorities do. They refuse to give up their search for answers.

“His voice is gone, but we all are here. We will fight until our last breath,” Lovely said.

Pravin's autopsy in Carbondale was conducted by Dr. Michael Jacobi, who often performs them in this area.

Carbondale Police and Jackson County State's Attorney Mike Carr refused to comment on this story. They cite an ongoing investigation, and Carr would not give a timetable for the case.

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