Mother welcomes charges in son’s 2014 death at SIU

MURPHYSBORO, Ill. (AP) — 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.