Pravin Varughese: Catalyzing for Change

Just recently a 19 year old-student at Southern Illinois University went missing for a few days, and then was found dead in the woods.


Reports say that he died from Hypothermia after running into the woods during a fight, following a night where police believed him to be drinking, but later tests proved that he was not.  For reasons unknown, these tests have not been released. of drinking (Updated 4/16). That student, Pravin Varghese, may have survived had law enforcement leveraged its resources and assets better. While law enforcement issued a missing persons report for Pravin, with no leads on his whereabouts, there was a state-trooper that had seen him run into the woods and been on scene that night. This trooper had information that could have potentially saved his life and saved his family, friends, and community a ton of suffering.

Pravin’s mom, Lovely, is calling for more information into what happened. In this public statement on YouTube Pravin’s mother asks for the community to come together and push the law enforcement for answers. She is distraught with the miscommunication and misinformation her family has been provided on numerous occasions since their son’s death saying,

“We want the legal system to work for the safety and betterment of the citizens as we live in the greatest country on the face of this earth. We are so proud to be part of this

Imagecountry and honored to be United States Citizens. If there is something missing in the way communications are being done and handled, then this is the time to change. This should not happen to another family. When someone is reported missing there should be a better way of using resources to find that person. We will be the advocate for that. We don’t have detective minds, and that’s why we believe in our law enforcement for the public safety.”

This mother is seeking the help of community. While she seeks it for her son, it is not just for herself, but for all mothers out there. I chose to write on this because watching Pravin’s Mom, I realize that could be my own mother-I could be Pravin. Anyone of us could. She deserves an accountable and responsible law enforcement in the event something happens to me. Every person, regardless of race, color, and class does.

“This could be anyone’s son or daughter and I don’t want to see another person standing like this just because there are loopholes in the legal systems. We want the system to work for the betterment of fellow citizens. We hope the loss of our Pravin can cause a change.” Lovely Varughese

It’s amazing to watch this woman push forward through the death of her 19-year-old son, but it’s time to do more than watch. We should stand up, support-help. She’s right, this could be anybody’s child. There are missing black, brown, and white children all the time and plenty of parents who can attest to the added burden of a law-enforcement system that is ill-prepared to deal with it or a frivolous legal system that can’t rein in its law-enforcement. We’re a first world country and we deserve first-world governance.

Next Steps

  1. Donate
  2. Drop an anonymous tip with Kompassist
  3. Call or Email: People in Power hold the keys to change. Ask them to support Lovely Varguhese in her push to #MakeJusticeWork
  • The Southern Illinois University, President of the College:     or and his assistant, Paula Keith, is at
  • The Carbondale County Mayor, Don Monty, 618-549-0372 or
  • Any of the Town Council Members:
  • Patt Quinn, Governor of Illinois (particularly regarding the loopholes in procedure that allowed the police & state troopers to be out of sync)  Phone: 312-814-2121 or email here

I’ll keep this posted as I learn more. If you have details fill them into the comments box and I’ll update this post. Want to offer your support? Drop it in a comment & I’ll make sure its routed to the right people.

“We just want answers. No revenge. We want to go to our grave in peace knowing what happened to our Pravin.” – Lovely Varughese


15 thoughts on “Pravin Varughese: Catalyzing for Change

  1. Marvin, why don’t you fill out a Freedom of Information Act request and get the full police report before assuming that law enforcement did not do its job that night. Pravin’s roommate (also his cousin) did not report him missing until 8pm the following night. Everyone wants to blame the trooper (whom we are hearing may have never even seen Pravin)…but what about his own roommate/cousin? Why did it take him 20 hours to notice that Pravin was missing? How bad was HIS hangover after working as a bouncer that night at Stix? It’s easy to want to blame people in times like this, but when the truth comes out regarding the whereabouts and habits of this young man and his friends…it is unfortunately going to be ugly. There is an alcohol and drug culture at SIU that you know nothing about. Why the silence from Pravin’s roommates? Because they are fully aware of the things he was involved in. You say that we have a “frivolous legal system that can’t rein in its law-enforcement”. Really? How about rephrasing that as “we have a generation of Indian youth who cannot be reined in”? Like sheep without a shepherd, they are living for the pleasures of this world that will only lead to…death. Many on campus knew of Pravin’s habits, but no one cared enough to pull this young man from his path to destruction.

    1. Thanks for your comments Johnny. Few quick things I’d like to clarify.
      -The trooper followed protocol. I’m not attacking him. I don’t believe the family is either. The protocols in place were (clearly) not suitable for this situation. It may be valuable to review these protocols as to avoid a future incident. I applaud Pravin’s Mother for taking that burden.
      -The investigation needs to be more thorough than just a simple ruling of accident. A thorough investigation would reveal (even ugly) truths of why someone didn’t come forward sooner.
      -It’s not about blame. It’s about fixing a structure that is broken. When a bridge is cracked you don’t blame the forces that cracked it. You study why it broke & fix it as to not let it happen again. Law enforcement protocols are your bridge this time.
      -Communications: You can’t tell a mother who just lost her son two stories. Watch her video for more on when this happen. We’ve got to be more accountable to the humanness of these problems

      And lastly, this is not just an Indian Problem, it’s an American Problem. There are children of all colors that have a night of drinking that take a wrong turn. These children aren’t on “path’s of destruction” they are young people exploring life. Your point is valid, but I think that if you want to focus on Indian youth you may want to check up more on ‘a submissive culture’ and the ramifications of such things where the smallest things can be considers colossal paths of destruction.

      1. I mostly agree with Johnny. The legal system may not be perfect. However, the “community” also have a responsibility. That means everyone who knew Pravin including roommates, cousins, friends, etc. I definitely think those people whom he got a ride that night must have some accountability. They just let him get out of the car without a Jacket in the woods and didn’t report it until few days later? That is almost criminal. We all live in our own selfish world minding our own business and choose to stay silent or not get involved rather than care. wonder, question, and speak up so that we don’t get into trouble. Yes, we are our brother’s keeper. We all need to be aware and act when you sense something wrong with anyone you know. I am sure there are people out there, who may know things, but are afraid to speak up. We cannot just blame the Law enforcement, The system that is broken is bigger than the legal system. It is society.

      2. Right. We need to improve on both ends. You’ve got children, right? While you and I work on making our kids the best they can be-and we reform education to do the same let’s support Lovely as she moves to fix the legal system for them.

        If a wheel is broken at two places you don’t just fix one, you fix both. Or it doesn’t roll the way it’s supposed to. Let’s fix both.

  2. Marvin, Great effort to shed light on this tragedy. A family lost their dear one, a vibrant life cut short. Tragedies, things happen sometimes; that is the mystery and complexity life. It may not be appropriate to second guess or point fingers at certain choices. None of the colleges in USA, except may be a few, are immune from house parties, fraternities or sororities. The society now is much more liberated society than the one years before. May be Pravin made a bad choice that night, may be he was lured by a person to his car under the pretense of giving a ride and Pravin fought him to get out, may be something else. I do not know Pravin or his family. But I am shaken after hearing and reading about this tragedy. I am a little perplexed by a previous comment about pleasures of this world leading to death. Death does not segregate anybody. It sometimes happens to the most innocent person. Scores of innocent people all round the world are killed every day because of their religion or tribe. It is very tough for anyone to deal with loosing a loved one. May God give Pravin’s family strength.

  3. We can all point fingers back and forth, but it does not bring him back. However, we can fight to make sure this does not happen again to someone else. So new protocols should be in place.

  4. I was wondering if you were able to verify any information on kompassist because I could not see much information about them and if their funds go to the family or the efforts (or how much of it ) and I only could find that they were created this year. Let me know if you know more thanks!

    1. Hey, no I’m not able to verify them as a credible agency for funds. And the is just for the Campaign/Social Media, I believe.
      Pravin’s family is setting up a donation portal for their use to further this cause. I’m in touch with them and they’ll be sending that along. I’ll be quick to post it here and can ping you too.

  5. Does anyone know why it took his acquaintance 5 days to come forward? This this fall under 3rd murder …. Negligence or indifference?
    This is a heartbreaking news. Every story has 2 sides.
    The toxicology report should shed some light on this. Our law and legal system can only do so much. As soon as they got the tip from the “friend” they found Pravin. They spent 5 days looking for him with no leads.
    I pray for peace for his family.

  6. The family should get an attorney and sue the state of Illinois. If that trooper had come forward sooner then Pravin would have been found sooner and closure could have happened sooner for the family. The party was thrown by people that were friends with Pravin. Did any of his close friends know this “acquaintance” that drove Pravin?
    Why did the police call this “no foul play” within hours of starting investigation despite having no leads? Pravin’s friends recall him has a nice guy that did not do drugs. They reported that he had one beer the night of the party. Where is this driver? Why did he not come forward sooner? Why did the police protect him? Is he white male or another fellow Indian? Why did this guy move out of state when there is an active investigation going on? If he is innocent why did he not come forward sooner? If he had come forward sooner, Pravin would be alive today. The effects of hypothermia are reversible in early stages. Why couldn’t Pravin access his phone in the woods? What was stopping him from making a call? If the d river barely knew Pravin, why did he offer a ride? I want to know who this driver is. He must come forward. He should be charged with suspected 3rd degree murder which is due to neglect or indifference. Pravin’s death if it was truly due to hypothermia then that could have been prevented by finding him ASAP and taking him to a hospital for treatment. This driver friend is a real dangerous criminal and needs to be brought to light. If you are out there and you are innocent then come forward and tell us what happened that night.

  7. Marvin, if you are in the media please put pressure for this “driver ” to come forward. He is involved in this case. He needs to tell us what happened.
    What really happened that night. That driver is the only o me who knows. The family and the community deserve to know what happened to son, brother, friend, and fellow citizen.

    1. Are there any updates on what the toxicology report showed for this young man?
      Is there any information on this driver who waited 5 days to come forward and indirectly led to Pravins death.

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