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The Mystery of the Rain House

            The Rain House is a brick house on the corner of Oak and Poplar Streets in Carbondale, Illinois. In 1982, it was the home of Professor Sion Raveed. The professor taught business at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. He also owned an impressive portfolio of business operations around the world. Sion Raveed was a very wealthy man and an expert in international business. On March 9th, 1982, a friend came looking for the professor after he failed to show up for classes two days in a row. He was found dead in the basement of the house now known as “The Rain House”.

            Sion Raveed was born on December 1st, 1946, in Los Angeles, California. Sion earned his bachelor’s degree at San Diego State College. Then he headed to Ohio to attend Wright State University, where he earned his master’s degree. He would then travel to Indiana to earn his doctorate degree from Indiana University. Sion would later teach marketing as he build his own wealth with international business transactions. He taught at Notre Dame, Northern Illinois University, and at a school in New Mexico. In 1978, he began teaching at SIUC. (Southern Illinois University Carbondale).

            Professor Raveed was well liked by his students and colleagues. He was described as a gentle, brilliant, and “weird as a gourd” shortly after his death. He led an annual trip abroad for students majoring in marketing. His wealth continued to grow, but the professor dressed and lived modestly. The thirty-five-year-old professor built strong relationships with some of his graduate students, including Michael Oliveira.

            On March 9th, 1982, a friend of Sion Raveed found his dead body in his home. The professor had not shown up for his classes for the past two days. The body was partially decomposing, making the cause of death unclear. An autopsy showed the professor had been stabbed multiple times. The condition of the body was used to estimate the time of death to be three to four days before the body was found. Sion was survived by his mother and sister, who were living on the west coast.

            This is where the details become few and far in between. In newspaper articles it is reported that detectives had clues and a person of interest, but a name is not disclosed until August of 1982. The Jackson County State’s Attorney announced that Michael Oliveira had been charged with Sion Raveed’s murder. Michael had been a student of Sion’s and had traveled abroad with the professor as a student in the marketing department. Authorities announced twenty-two-year-old Michael Oliveira as the suspect indicted for the murder but did not provide a motive. Additionally, Michael was not at his Geneseo, Illinois, home and had seemingly vanished.

            Two years later, in 1984, Michael Oliveira was arrested in Canada. He had been living in Canada for two years as a wanted fugitive. He had an argument with his roommate in January of 1984, and the police were called. Michael was arrested on suspected immigration violations but was soon identified as the man wanted for Sion Raveed’s murder. He was extradited back to The United States and back to Jackson County jail to await trial.

            Michael Oliveira never went to trial, however. He was given a plea deal in July of 1984. The death had occurred during an argument between Michael and Sion regarding Sion’s business practices. Michael claimed to have been defending himself. He was allowed to plead guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to ten years in prison and a ten thousand dollar fine. According to the State’s Attorney, Michael was given the deal in exchange for testimony regarding Sion Raveed’s business dealings and practices that the FBI suspected would lead to numerous arrests.

            Following Michael’s sentencing hearing, I was not able to find any further news articles or coverage regarding the details of Sion Raveed’s murder or Michael Oliveira’s release from prison. In fact, I couldn’t even find a judici page for Oliveira. While no motive is ever identified, news articles strongly suggest that Sion Raveed was involved in some type of illegal activity that required Jackson County Police, Carbondale Police, Illinois State Police, the FBI and the DEA to be involved in the investigation. One article does say that authorities confirmed that illegal drugs were not a factor in the case.

            This is where my imagination goes wild. The following is my speculation on what happened to Sion Raveed on that March Day in 1982. I believe that Sion Raveed was involved in some type of illegal business activity. Since it was supposedly not illegal drugs, I am not entirely sure what Raveed was involved in. But the FBI did and had interest in Sion Raveed’s murder related to his international business activities. I think that Michael Oliveira became aware of some of these activities and wanted a share. I think he and Sion got into an argument and Michael stabbed him nearly fifteen times. He then fled to Canada.

            Again, this part is only speculation, but I think once Michael was back in the United States, the FBI needed him as a witness. He was given his sentence to close the case but was then taken into FBI custody or witness protection. Whatever Sion Raveed was involved in, it was a much bigger case than his murder. Michael is probably living under another identity after providing evidence about a crime more heinous than murder.


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