On the night of Feb 12, 2014, Pravin Varughese (born in July 29, 1994), a 19-year-old student at Southern Illinois University headed out to a birthday party.
Six days later his body would be found in the woods nearby. Initial autopsy reports found that Pravin died of hypothermia. He was wearing only a t-shirt, jeans, and shoes in the frigid Illinois weather.
The police chalked the case up to drunken misadventure and closed the investigation.
As news spread about Pravin’s disappearance between Feb 14-16, Gaege Bethune’s name was provided to police by his cousin. Gaege had attended the same birthday party with his friends on Feb 12th, but had been asked to leave multiple times by the host, Sarah, due to prior disagreements they had. Some time after Gaege left the party he encountered Pravin. As Pravin had yet to be found, and there was a reward for any information about his disappearance,
Gaege’s cousin wanted to share what he knew in order to secure the reward. By Feb 17th, Gaege was being interviewed by police about Pravin’s disappearance. During police interviews on Feb 17th and 19th Gaege told officers that he’d picked up Pravin hitchhiking and offered him a ride. He said Pravin was intoxicated, became aggressive, attempted to rob him, and the two fought before Pravin exited the vehicle and ran into the woods.