Over 39,000 sign petition to find justice for Carbondale student’s death

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CARBONDALE, IL (KTVI) - It was February when the body of Pravin Varughese,19, was found in a wooded area in Carbondale, IL. Family and friends have been pushing for answers ever since. A memorial service will be held Saturday at the Carbondale Town Square Pavilion from 2pm to 4pm.

'We don`t understand why he was in the woods, what prompted him to go there, why he was unable to escape,' said SIU-C student Besa Tetova.

Police said they did not suspect foul play in February. Investigators said Varughese argued with a new acquaintance and took off into the woods. Police felt the cold and rough terrain contributed to the student`s inability to survive.

Friends are puzzled, saying Verughese was in great physical shape. They say he worked out on a regular basis. Family members say their loved one ran cross country through high school.

'We just really want answers for Pravin,' said SIU-C student Becca Cardone. 'He deserves justice and his family deserves to know what really happened to him.'

Police and prosecutors have declined to comment on the investigation. A spokesperson for the police department has told FOX 2 the case is still ongoing. The Jackson County State`s Attorney did not return a phone call requesting comment. The Jackson County Coroner has not made public toxicology results from the autopsy.

Family members have said the Jackson County Coroner has told them toxicology findings showed no signs of drugs or alcohol in their loved one`s system. The family says it had an independent autopsy completed which confirmed those findings.

A website and on-line petition was launched in an effort to show how many people believed Varughese`s death should be given more attention. A family member says 39,400 signatures have been collected. Their goal was to collect 25,000.

'We`re not going to stop until we find justice for him,' said Cardone.

For more information go to www.justiceforpravin.org.

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