Missing SIU Student Found Dead

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By WSIL Manager

UPDATED 7:45 p.m. WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 2014

JACKSON COUNTY -- The Jackson County coroner says preliminary autopsy results show Pravin Varughese died of hypothermia. Toxicology results are pending.

UPDATED 10:30 p.m. TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2014

JACKSON COUNTY -- Pravin Varughese's family and friends are hoping an autopsy Wednesday will reveal more about what happened to him. It's been an excruciating week for them and they were expecting a much different outcome.

"My god we thought we would see him alive," agonized mother Lovely Varughese.

"Our brother and we just miss him so much," sister Priya Varughese said.

The loving family is torn apart, remembering the last time they were all together, back in their Chicagoland home. They reunited just days before their nightmare started.

"He came to church with me, he took communion," Lovely recalled.

They spoke to Pravin at nine Wednesday night. Hours later he would vanish from a house party in the 600 block of West College.

"Everything was fine. There was nothing that he said," his mother explained.

She wonders why Pravin ended up in the woods in the middle of the night, and if there's more to the story.

"Standing here I don't know how he could have done this. And if he had the phone with him, he would've called somebody," shared Lovely.

Friends echoed her confusion.

"I don't know how in the hell he ended up over here," Nathan Haas said.

Several visited the area where Pravin's body was discovered, leaning on one another for strength.

"This is a moment of unimaginable sorrow for the entire SIU community. Our thoughts are with Pravin's family and all those who mourn his loss," SIU Spokesperson Rae Goldsmith added.

They're remembering a young man who studied criminal justice; one who won't soon be forgotten.

"Oh my god we love him from the bottom of our heart and I'm so glad we had 19 years with him," Lovely shared.

An autopsy Wednesday morning may give them more answers; at least whether alcohol or drugs were involved.

Police say it took time to find Pravin since they had few leads to work with, until the drive came forward Monday night.

Investigators aren't talking about why he ran into the woods. They do say he likely couldn't find his way out because of the terrain and bitter cold temperatures.    

UPDATED 2:40 p.m. TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2014

CARBONDALE -- Carbondale Police say foul play is not suspected in the death of an SIU student whose body was discovered Tuesday morning.

Investigators found the body of 19-year-old Pravin Varughese around 9:45 a.m. Tuesday in a wooded area in the 1400 block of East Main Street.

Varughese had last been seen at a party Wednesday night at a home on West College Street.

Police say Varughese accepted a ride from a person at that party but got into a dispute and left the car, running into the woods.

The cause of Varughese's death is still under investigation. An autopsy is planned.

 

ORIGINAL STORY

CARBONDALE -- A missing SIU student has been found dead.

Authorities say the body of 19-year-old Pravin Varughese was discovered Tuesday in an area off Giant City Road in Carbondale.

Crews could be seen searching that area near Kohl's and Buffalo Wild Wings earlier in the day.

Varughese was last seen Wednesday night at a party at a home on West College Street.

Carbondale Police had previously scheduled a 2 p.m. news conference to discuss the investigation into Varughese's disappearance.

Stay with News 3 for updates on this story throughout the day.

 

Statement released by Carbondale Police Chief Jody O'Guinn at 2 p.m. news conference

 Hello and thank you for coming.  On February 13, 2014 our Department received a report of a missing person, Pravin Varughese. We immediately began to follow leads on Pravin’s whereabouts and we requested the assistance of the Southern Illinois University Department of Public Safety to aid in the investigation.  Pravin is a sophomore at SIU.   

    
Officers and investigators learned that Pravin was last seen in the area of the 600 block of West College Street at approximately 11:00 p.m. on February 13, 2014.  Investigators from both Departments have worked numerous hours and followed numerous leads to locate Pravin.  We have been assisted by the Illinois State Police Aviation Unit, Black Diamond Aviation, and local search and rescue K-9 teams.  We deployed every available resource to locate Pravin.

              
 I regret to report that Pravin was found deceased at approximately 9:45 a.m. this morning in the 1400 block of East Main Street in a wooded area.  Investigators learned while on West College Street Pravin accepted a ride from a recent acquaintance on February 12, 2014, just before midnight.  Following a dispute, Pravin exited the vehicle in the 1400 block of East Main Street and fled into the wooded area.

           
 The difficult terrain and low temperatures are believed to have contributed to Pravin’s difficulty finding his way out of the wooded area. Pravin’s exact cause of death is still being investigated with the assistance of the Jackson County Coroner’s Office.  No foul play is suspected at this time.

 
 On behalf of the the City of Carbondale and the Carbondale Police Department we extend our sincere condolences to Pravin’s family and friends.  Mrs. Rae Goldsmith, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer from Southern Illinois University will now speak on behalf of the University
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