More than five years after the death of 19-year-old Pravin Varughese, NBC’s “Dateline” aired an episode detailing the circumstances surrounding the Chicago teen’s death. The news channel had first aired an episode on Varughese’s death in July 2018.
The Aug. 5 episode — “At the Edge of Town — featured the Southern Illinois University student’s mother Lovely Varughese as well as Bethune’s mother Penny Bethune.
The Southern Illinois University student went missing on the night of Feb. 12, 2014 and was found dead in a wooded area near Carbondale, Ill., six days later. Gaege Bethune was convicted of first-degree murder in June 2018 after a two-week jury trial.
But in September 2018, the downstate judge set aside the verdict because he said wording in the indictment may have confused the jurors and ordered Bethune to be set free, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Initially after authorities had dismissed Varughese’s death as an accident, his mother waged the relentless crusade mobilizing politicians, media and the public. While the local coroner declared his death an accident caused by exposure to extreme cold, his family commissioned an independent post-mortem which found that he had died from a severe blow to his head and had other injuries.
Lovely Varughese also filed a case against Carbondale, its police department and O’Guin alleging negligence and seeking $5 million in damages. “I miss hearing him call me Mommy. I miss hearing his footsteps,” Varughese said.
“I believe it was Pravin’s spirit who brought us all this way. He wanted us to know what happened to him and who did this to him. And we got it. We know who did this to Pravin. That’s all I needed to know.”