Daily Egyptian

Vigil held for Pravin Varughese in Chicago

By Austin Miller, @AMiller_DE

Some 100 people took to Daley Plaza in Chicago to remember the life of Pravin Varughese on Saturday.

Present at the vigil was Lovely Varughese, mother of Pravin, the SIU student who was found dead in the wooded area east of the 1400 block of East Main Street near Buffalo Wild Wings on Feb. 18. 2014, six days after he was reported missing.

The vigil was held not only to remember Pravin, but for the additional dozen or so families dealing with unsolved murders or missing persons, Varughese said.

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“We wanted to do something downtown to show that we are not going away — that there are problems in the legal system,” Varughese said. “We wanted to get these families together to show we are not alone. There are a lot more other people in our shoes.”

The Pravin Action Council, a 50-person group of Indian Chicagoans whose mission is to raise awareness about Pravin’s death, organized the event.

Varughese said the sister of Stacy Peterson, who has been missing since 2007, spoke at the ceremony. Drew Peterson, Stacy’s husband, has been the main suspect in the disappearance and is serving a 38-year prison sentence for murdering his third wife.

Also in attendance was a representative of U.S. Rep. Bob Dold (R-Ill.). Varughese said she first met Dold in February, after Pravin’s funeral in Chicago. Dold has since written a letter with U.S. Rep. Danny Davis (D-Ill) to the Department of Justice requesting it review Pravin’s case, she said. 

“They have realized there is a problem, otherwise they wouldn’t get involved,” Varughese said. “Our voice is being heard. They are doing everything they can and are interested in changing the system.”

Dold and Davis could not be reached for comment by press time Sunday.

Varughese will speak at a conference on May 18 in Washington, D.C. While there, she said she hopes to speak with officials from the Department of Justice.

She has pending lawsuits against the city of Carbondale and Illinois State Trooper Chris Martin for his suspected negligence in investigating Pravin’s disappearance.

She said she sent the results of a second autopsy to the special prosecutor requested by Jackson County State’s Attorney Michael Carr one month ago. The family commissioned the autopsy, and Dr. Ben Margolis of the Autopsy Center in Chicago found the cause of death to be blunt-force trauma to the head.

Those results conflicted with the Carbondale police report, which stated Pravin died from hypothermia. Varughese said she has not heard anything from Carbondale police since then.

“This is not the way a civilized country should work,” she said. “If my son’s life can shed some light onto [these problems], I’m going to get it done.”

Austin Miller can be reached at [email protected]

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