Varughese Family Sues Carbondale


By Evie Allen
By Benjy Jeffords

MURPHYSBORO -- The family of Pravin Varughese is now suing the city of Carbondale, its police chief, and the person who last saw Pravin alive.

It was on the night of February 12th when the former SIU student left a house party and got a ride from that man. The 19-year-old's body was found six days later in a wooded area near Route 13. The next day, the coroner said he died of hypothermia.

The family of Pravin Varughese says Thursday brought them one step closer to justice.

"It's Pravin's day. We got it done," said Pravin's mother Lovely Varughese. 

Lovely and her attorney, Charles Stegmeyer, filed the paperwork to sue parties they believe are responsible for Pravin's death.

Defendants include Gaege Bethune, the driver of the vehicle Pravin was last seen in.

"If he had come out in the beginning and said something, I think my mind would have been in much more peace," said Lovely.

The suit also names the city of Carbondale and police chief Jody O'Guinn. It accuses O'Guinn of ignoring the missing person incident about Pravin. 

It quotes him as saying "it's just what college kids do, they go missing for several days." 

"Police have an obligation to protect not only the citizens, but the students," added Stegmeyer.

Pravin's mother says, so far, investigators have been dishonest reporting her son died from hypothermia. A second autopsy by a pathologist hired by the family found he suffered blunt force trauma to the head.

"What we heard was all lies. Which we couldn't even believe. If they had told us something that we were able to believe I would have taken it," said Lovely.

She says her family just wants to know exactly what happened to Pravin.

"We were not looking for any kind of revenge. We were looking for answers." Lovely said.

The family say they won't give up till they get justice for her son and peace of mind for the family.

Beyond that, this lawsuit calls for a large financial payout. It seeks more than $5 million in damages from the three defendants combined. The city, the police chief, and the driver who last saw Pravin.

Carbondale Police are not commenting on the lawsuit.

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