- Associated Press - Friday, July 14, 2017

MURPHYSBORO, Ill. (AP) - The Latest on charges in the 2014 death of an SIU student (all times local):

2:35 p.m.

The mother of a Southern Illinois University student from suburban Chicago says she’s relieved there are charges in her son’s death more three years later.

She spoke in a phone interview Friday after learning that 22-year-old Gaege Bethune is charged with murder in the 2014 death of her 19-year-old son, Pravin Varughese (VAHR’-geez).

Lovely Varughese said her emotions were mixed when a prosecutor called to tell her of the charges. She said there was “a sigh of relief,” but also “screaming and crying” at news the family had hoped to hear for years.

She long challenged original findings her son died accidentally of exposure to the cold. Authorities concluded at the time there was no evidence of foul play. But she said a private autopsy quickly identified multiple, clear injuries to her son’s head and face.


12:50 p.m.

A grand jury has indicted a 22-year-old in the death of a Southern Illinois University student whose family long argued his death three years ago wasn’t accidental.

Jackson County Court records available online Friday say Gaege Bethune is charged with two counts of murder in the death of Pravin Varughese (VAHR’-geez).

The 19-year-old criminal justice major from suburban Chicago was found in a wooded area in Carbondale nearly a week after he went missing.

Authorities said in 2014 there was no evidence of foul play and that Varughese likely died of cold exposure. But the family had said a private autopsy showed signs of blunt force trauma. The indictment itself is sealed and online records don’t detail the allegations.

Bethune turned himself in Thursday. Bail is set at $1 million.

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