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Body of Harsha Maddula, missing Northwestern student, found in harbor

Kristina Vragovic

Body of Harsha Maddula found in Wilmette Harbor

The sophomore disappeared after an on-campus party and was missing for almost a week


Northwestern University student Harsha Maddula was missing for almost a week before his body was found Thursday evening in Wilmette Harbor on Lake Michigan.

Harsha Maddula, an 18-year-old sophomore from Long Island, N.Y., was last seen 12:30 a.m. Saturday at an off-campus party. He made a phone call to a friend at 12:35 saying he was in his dormitory, but footage from dorm surveillance cameras reveal no sign of Maddula at that time. Around 1 a.m., a cell phone tower near Wilmette Harbor picked up a signal from Maddula’s phone. The phone, along with Maddula’s wallet and identification, were found in his pants pocket.

The Daily Northwestern reported that Harsha Maddula’s parents flew in from Long Island and offered a $25,000 reward for information about their son. A fisherman ended up finding the body Thursday among some boats in Wilmette Harbor, after divers had spent Wednesday searching with no sign of Maddula.

Harsha Maddula was described by his parents and friends as not being the “partying” type, and the cause of death is still under investigation. Maddula’s parents in particular pointed out that he was more of an “indoors person”; it remains unclear why Maddula would be at Wilmette Harbor, which is almost two miles away from the party he attended on the 2000 block of Ridge Road in Evanston, Ill.

“It’s just out of character,” Srinu Maddula, Harsha Maddula’s cousin, told reporters. “He doesn’t smoke, or drink, or do drugs because of his diabetic condition.”

The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office will conduct an autopsy. There were no outward signs of foul play on Maddula’s body.

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