Southern Illinois University man missing since Wednesday - FOX 32 News Chicago

Family offers reward for help locating missing SIU student

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Pravin M. Varughese (Photo from Carbondale police) Pravin M. Varughese (Photo from Carbondale police)
CARBONDALE, Ill. (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

The family of a missing Southern Illinois University student from north suburban Morton Grove is offering a $15,000 reward for information that helps find him.

Pravin M. Varughese, 19, was last seen about 11 p.m. Wednesday in the 600 block of West College Street, according to a release from Carbondale police.

His sister, Priya Varughese, said he, his cousin and a roommate had all gone to a house party in that area that night.

His most recent post on Twitter, sent about 11:17 p.m. Wednesday night, reads, "Bloody knuckles . . . guess I was in a fight #backdown."

"I'm not really sure what it means," said his sister, adding that he called a friend later that night and sounded like he was running or arguing during the phone call.

Pravin Varughese, originally from Morton Grove, is a sophomore at SIU studying criminal justice, his sister said. He lives in an off-campus apartment with his cousin and another roommate.

"He's very social. He's just very easy to talk to. He's very easy at lighting up a conversation, and very funny," she said. "You wouldn't be bored around him."

On Sunday, friends and police handed out flyers and talked to residents about the missing man, Sgt. Rich Brunner said.

Search efforts are centering on the 600 block of West College Street to the 800 block of East Grand Avenue, Brunner said.

Police are following investigative leads, and conducted visual searches of the area by airplane and helicopter.

Relatives, friends and members of his church have traveled to Carbondale to help search for him. They have also set up a Facebook page called "Missing: Pravin Varughese" to share updates.

A candlelight vigil to show support for his return is tentatively planned for 9 p.m. Monday at a field near Mae Smith Towers on the SIU campus, according to his sister and the Facebook page.

Police describe Varughese as a 5-foot-7, 150-pound white man with short brown hair, brown eyes, and a dark complexion. He was last seen unshaven, wearing the red shirt in the photo, dark blue jeans and purple shoes.

Police said he has a chest tattoo that reads "Fear God."

The family is offering a reward of at least $15,000 for information leading to his recovery, police said.

Anyone with information is encouraged to call Carbondale police at (618) 457-3200 or the Southern Illinois University Department of Public Safety. A reward up to $1,000 may be given for information provided anonymously to Crime Stoppers at (618) 549-2677.

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