The desperate search for a Southern Illinois University student who had been missing since last week has ended in tragedy.
Earlier today, the body of SIU student Pravin Varughese was found in Carbondale, Illinois. According to police, Varughese was found dead in the wooded area near 1400-block of East Main Street.
Prior to the discovery, nearly 200 family members and friends of Varughese came together to search for him. A reward of $15,000 was offered for any information that would help determine his whereabouts.
The 19-year-old was said to have been missing since Wednesday, February 12th, having exited a party that he was attending with a cousin and roommate.
Investigators learned that an individual, possibly the last person to see Varughese alive, attempted to give him a ride home. He could not tell the driver where he lived, and a verbal spat erupted shortly thereafter. Varughese got out of the car and headed towards the woods.
According to the individual this occurred at about 11 pm. It would be the last time anyone saw the SIU student alive.
— Guillermo Flores (@GuillermoxF) February 18, 2014
Family says SIU student's final moments don't add up - Pravin Varughese - WPSD http://t.co/BHn5zZImn4
— EricaParsons News (@EricaPNews) February 19, 2014
There were no obvious signs of trauma to the body and no indication of foul play. It is being assumed at the moment that due to being dressed so light and lacking a winter coat, he died of exposure.
According to Chief O'Guin, "The difficult terrain and low temperatures are believed to have contributed to Pravin's difficulty finding his way out of the wooded area."
The Jackson County Coroner's office is still working to determine the cause of death. Police have not yet learned whether drugs or alcohol played a role in Varughese’s death. Law enforcement is at present waiting on related results.
Southern Illinois University released the following statement through its spokesperson Rae Goldsmith:
"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”.
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