After a search in Wilmette Harbor turned up no leads, Northwestern University officials say they are still interviewing students about the whereabouts of Harsha Maddula, a sophomore who has been missing for six days.
Maddula was last seen at approximately 12:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 22, as he was leaving a party off campus, according to spokesperson Alan Cubbage. After examining his cell phone records, University Police determined that his phone last transmitted a signal near Wilmette Harbor, not long after he left the party in the 2000 block of Ridge Avenue.
With the help of more than 20 local law enforcement agencies and fire departments, University Police searched the water in the harbor, the surrounding area in Lake Michigan and the land near the harbor on Wednesday, according to Cubbage.
“No sign of the missing student was found, either on land or in the water,” he said in a press release sent Thursday morning. Police called off the search the same day.
The harbor is about two miles north of Maddula’s dormitory, the Public Affairs Residential College building at 1818 Chicago Ave.
At a news conference later that day, Cubbage said police were continuing to interview students who knew Maddula or may have seen him at the party or leaving the party.
“I think it’s important that the university remain hopeful,” he said.
University Police have interviewed more than a dozen students since they discovered Maddula was missing, Cubbage said, trying to determine exactly when he was last seen and if he was with anyone.
He said there was “no indication of foul play” in Maddula’s disappearance, but noted that he is diabetic—a condition that could have played a role if he stopped taking medication.
“When there is a medical condition involved, that makes it more troubling,” Cubbage said.
Volunteers helped police search for Maddula on Thursday morning and are invited to help police during a second search at 4 p.m. Thursday evening, leaving from the university building at 600 Haven St. in Evanston.
Maddula is described as an 18-year-old male of Indian descent, who is 5 feet 8 inches tall, approximately 150 pounds, with black hair and dark brown eyes. Officials say he was last seen wearing black-framed glasses, a long-sleeved grey sweater with white and black stitching, dark grey pants and brown shoes.
Anyone with information about his whereabouts is asked to contact Northwestern University Police at 847-491-3254. His family has also offered a $25,000 reward for information leading to his discovery.
Maddula was enrolled in Northwestern University’s McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science. Thursday would have been his first day of classes for the fall semester.
“It’s a somber start to the school year,” Cubbage said.