CARBONDALE (AP) – The Chicago-area family of a missing Southern Illinois University student has offered a $15,000 reward for information into the 19-year-old sophomore’s disappearance.
Pravin Varughese has been missing since Wednesday night, when his sister Priya Varughese said he went to a party in Carbondale with a cousin and a roommate. She said as many as 200 friends, family and church members have traveled to Carbondale to search for him.
“We just want him home,” Priya Varughese said. “No one is saying anything. No one knows for sure exactly what happened. He just didn’t come home that night.”
Carbondale Police Sgt. Rich Brunner said authorities have searched for Pravin Varughese using dogs and by air. The searches have covered much of the SIU campus and the city, he said.
“We are still working on it and keeping in touch with the family,” Brunner said.
Friends and police handed out flyers Sunday and talked with residents about the missing man. Vigils also have been planned.
Police describe Varughese as 5-foot-7, 150 pounds with a dark complexion. He has short brown hair, brown eyes and was last seen unshaven. He was wearing a red shirt, dark blue jeans and purple shoes and has a chest tattoo that reads “Fear God.”
Varughese’s mother, Lovely Varughese, tearfully said she doesn’t know how her family would live without her son.
“I still think he is somewhere,” she said. “Somebody has locked him up somewhere. I keep thinking that. If you have him, please just release him. We just want him back so bad.”
Varughese and his family are from the Chicago suburb of Morton Grove.
He was studying criminal justice. Police ask anyone with information to call Carbondale police or the Southern Illinois University Department of Public Safety.