A former Alton Police Department deputy chief is defending his record after being fired as the Carbondale police chief.  Jody O’Guinn says he was not given any reason for his dismissal and believes he is the scapegoat in the city’s handling of the death of a SIU student earlier this year.

According to a report in the Southern Illinoisan, O’Guinn says he was told by Carbondale City Manager Kevin Baity and the Jackson County State’s Attorney not to make comments to the media about the death of 19 year old Pravin Varughese.  The SIU student went missing in mid-February, and was found dead five days later.  Police initially reported the death as exposure to the cold, but an autopsy showed he had been struck in the head. O’Guinn says he did not agree with the decision to keep quiet, but was following orders.   The student’s mother has filed a lawsuit against the city and O’Guinn over their handling of the case.  Regarding the death of a woman at the home of a police dispatcher where no charges were ever filed, O’Guinn said the case was turned over to the Illinois State Police.  And on the topic of his stolen firearm that was later used in a murder, O’Guinn says he waited a week to report the gun stolen to make sure it had not been misplaced.  No one was ever charged with the theft of the gun.  O’Guinn says he has not decided if he will take legal action over his firing.


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