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Police: No foul play suspected in death of missing SIU student

PravM. Varughese / phofrom Carbondale police

Pravin M. Varughese / photo from Carbondale police

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Updated: March 20, 2014 6:36AM

Authorities do not suspect any foul play was involved in the death of a Southern Illinois University student from north suburban Morton Grove, who was found dead in a wooded area Tuesday after he had been missing for nearly a week, police said.

The body of Pravin M. Varughese, 19, was found about 9:45 a.m. in a wooded area near the 1400 block of East Main Street, Carbondale Police said in a release.

Varughese native had last been seen about 11 p.m. Wednesday at a party in the 600 block of West College Street in Carbondale, police and the man’s family said previously.

Investigators have learned Varughese accepted a ride from a recent acquaintance on West College Street just before midnight that night, the release said. But Varughese got out of the vehicle following a dispute and fled into a wooded area.

While his exact cause of death is still being investigated, police believe the difficult terrain and low temperatures made it difficult for him to find his way out of the wooded area, the release said.

No foul play is suspected in his death, according to police.

“On behalf of our family, we wanted to thank you all for your kind words, endless support and prayers for Pravin,” his family said in a statement posted on Facebook.

Originally from Morton Grove, he was a sophomore at SIU studying criminal justice, his sister Priya Varughese said. He lived in an off-campus apartment with his cousin and another roommate. In a statement, SIU Chancellor Rita Cheng called his death “a moment of unimaginable sorrow for the entire SIU community.”

“This is a very difficult time. May we all find a spark of hope in the outpouring of support for Pravin and his family from people across Southern Illinois, the Chicago area and around the country and world during the past week and, certainly in the days ahead,” the statement read. “We can find strength in our community and be reminded to hold fast to those we care about and cherish every moment to share with them.”

University officials are working with his family to find an appropriate way to honor Varughese, and counseling is available on campus for grieving students, Cheng said.

SIU’s Pi Sigma Epsilon AB chapter tweeted, “Today we lost a brother, a member, and a friend. R.I.P. Dev. You will always be family to us and forever in our hearts.”

“The Saluki family lost one of its own today. Keep Pravin Varughese’s family and friends in your thoughts & prayers. #RIPPravin,” an SIU student government group tweeted.

The Jackson County Coroner’s office continues to investigate his exact cause of death, police said.

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