Family of Missing SIU Student Pleads for Help


By Fanna Haile-Selassie
By Craig Choate

UPDATE: SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2014 10:52 P.M.

CARBONDALE -- A Chicago family is desperate to find their missing son in Carbondale, after he vanished Wednesday night.

Nearly 200 friends and family of 19-year-old Pravin Varughese have descended on Carbondale to help find him. They've come from all over the country, and they're asking for anyone who knows what has happened to him to come forward.

They are relying on the compassion of the Carbondale community to help find him. The days move painstakingly slow, as they wait for any news of the missing SIU sophomore. And passing out posters is a bittersweet welcome to actively participate in any way to bring Varughese back home.

But parents Lovely and Mathew are devastated by the news.

"I still think he's somewhere, somebody has locked him up somewhere, I keep thinking that. If you have him, please, just release him," cries Lovely.

They say Varughese calls home to Chicago every night, including Wednesday, before he went missing. But the phone call they received Thursday was gut wrenching.

"I picked up thinking it's him," remembers Lovely. "And then when they said it's Carbondale Police, you know I just had this feeling."

Police say Varughese was last seen on the 600 block West College Street. He was at a party with his cousin, but witnesses say Varughese left out the backdoor and didn't come back.

"Right now, there's no physical evidence to indicate where he could be right now," explains his sister Priya.

A cryptic phone call and messages on social media that night have only led to more questions.

"He called one of his friends Thursday at 12:30, at midnight and she said it sounded like he was running, arguing with someone. But what he was saying wasn't really clear to her," Priya explains.

She says nearly 200 friends and church members are helping in the search, and they refuse to give up 

Lovely says, "We just want him back so bad. I don't know how we're going to live without him."

Many of those friends and family went further outside of Carbondale Sunday to pass along missing posters. They are now offering more than $15,000 for any information that leads to Varughese's discovery.

If you know anything about the disappearance, call Carbondale police at 618-457-3200.     



CARBONDALE -- The family of 19-year-old Pravin Varughese are pleading for the public's help in finding him. Varughese was reported missing on Thursday.  

He was last seen Wednesday night around 11:00 p.m., while attending a party on the 600 block of West College Street in Carbondale. Police say  he was wearing a red shirt, dark jeans, and purple shoes.  He is described as  5'7", weighing 150 pounds, has short brown hair and brown eyes. Varughese also has a tattoo on his chest that reads "fear God."

His parents and nearly 200 friends and family are in Carbondale this weekend to help find him.

We will have the latest on the search and more from family members at News 3 at 5 and 10.

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