Memorial for SIU Student Pravin Varughese
CARBONDALE -- Friends and family of former SIU student Pravin Varughese gathered Saturday for a memorial service at the Carbondale Pavilion.
The 19-year-old was found dead in a wooded lot near Buffalo Wild Wings back February, after he had been missing for five days. Since then, the family has been looking for answers as to what happened that night.
Saturday's service brought nearly 200 people to the Carbondale Pavilion. Most of them traveled from Chicago in support of the family. Family members wanted to let authorities in Carbondale know they won't stop until they know what happened to Pravin.
"We wanted to come here to make Carbondale authorities aware that we are not going back without knowing what happened to our son," urged Pravin's mother Lovely Varughese. "We are still waiting for our son's death certificate. We are still waiting for the autopsy report. We are still waiting for the toxicology report to be released."
Pravin's older sister Priya says law enforcement originally told the family drugs and alcohol played a role. Since then, two toxicology reports have indicated there was no alcohol or drugs found in his body. The family says bruises were also found on his body.
"We just believe that, obviously, someone or just a group of people know more to the story. Just based on the bruises, my brother was hurt obviously," said Priya.
Carbondale Mayor Don Monty was there and was presented with a petition with nearly 40,000 signatures asking for justice.
"Hopefully, it will go through the proper channel and justice will be served," explained Lovely.
Priya says Pravin loved to live life to the fullest.
"He never wasted a day or took a day for granted. Not having him here has left us all broken hearted and shattered."
The family has not given up hope and won't rest until they find out what happened to him.
"We're just clinging on to our faith in God right now, and we know that he's in a much, much better place."
The family has hired a lawyer and private investigator to help with the case. If you'd like to help the family pay the expenses you can click HERE to go to the 'Justice for Pravin' website.
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