Lovely Varughese, mother of Pravin Varughese, speaks earlier this year at an event held in support of her late son.
The special prosecutor charged with reviewing the circumstances behind an SIU student’s mysterious death in early 2014 says his office expects to finish its work within the coming several weeks.
Patrick Delfino, director of the State’s Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor’s office, told the Times recently that his office’s final report in the case of Pravin Varughese should come sometime in November.
“We’ve got a couple of things to finish up before we’re done with it,” Delfino said. He declined to comment on the record on what those things are.
Delfino’s office also performed a review in the case of Molly Young, whose 2012 death in Carbondale also has been the subject of public scrutiny. The special prosecutor’s final report in that case came several months after Delfino first said it would be released.
The special prosecutor’s appointment in the Varughese case came earlier this year after State’s Attorney Mike Carr’s announcement that a 2014 grand jury had returned no indictments in the case — a statement that provoked widespread anger among Varughese’s family and friends. Carr asked for an external review of the case.
Varughese was last seen alive Feb. 12, 2014, at a house party in Carbondale, where he apparently hitched a ride with a new acquaintance, Gaege Bethune. A fight reportedly ensued between the two on Rt. 13 just east of Giant City Road, where they exited the truck and rolled down a hill as they struggled. When an Illinois State Police trooper came onto the scene, Varughese apparently was already in the nearby woods.
He was reported missing the next day, although police didn’t find his body until the following week. The state trooper did not file a report on his encounter with Bethune until several days after the body was found.
Varughese’s family has alleged that Bethune played an active role in Varughese’s death. The Jackson County coroner’s report concluded Varughese died in the woods from hypothermia, although a second autopsy commissioned by the family reportedly found signs of blunt force trauma.
A civil suit against Bethune remains pending.