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Police Identify Body Found in Wilmette Harbor as Missing NU Student

Police found a body in the water at Wilmette Harbor Thursday night. They believe it is Northwestern University sophomore Harsha Maddula, 18, who has been missing since Saturday.

Police say a body found in Wilmette Harbor Thursday night appears to be that of Harsha Maddula, a Northwestern University student who has been missing since Saturday.

University Police learned that a body had been found in the water in the harbor shortly before 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 27, according to a press release from the university. Maddula’s wallet, containing his Northwestern ID card and his cell phone, were found on the body. 

Wilmette Police investigators ruled that there were no signs of foul play, the release said. An autopsy is scheduled for Friday morning, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office. 

“On behalf of Northwestern University, I extend our deepest sympathies to Harsha’s family and to his many friends at Northwestern. Our hearts and thoughts are with them,” University President Morton Schapiro said in the release. 

Maddula was last seen around 12:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 22, leaving a party in the 2000 block of Ridge Avenue. When police traced his cell phone, they discovered that its last signal was transmitted near a tower in the area of Wilmette Harbor.

More than 20 local law enforcement agencies and fire departments assisted University Police in a search of the water and land near the harbor on Wednesday. Authorities called off the search on Thursday morning, but volunteer crews set out along with University Police at 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Thursday.

A sophomore in the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, Maddula grew up in New Hyde Park, NY, a suburb of Long Island. 

Thursday would have been his first day of classes. 

“As we start the new academic year, normally a time of joy and optimism, we do so this year with a heavy heart,” Schapiro said in the release. 

Chaun September 28, 2012 at 01:31 PM
So many unanswered questions to this tragic end. Praying for his family.
Patricia September 28, 2012 at 03:26 PM
Melanie, I was thinking the same thing: Two of our children in less than a week are gone. Yes, they are our children as they reside or have ties within our community. As a parent, I too grieve for the parents and friends of these two children. With this child at NU, it has got to be the absolute worse - my God my heart grieves for his family and friends. I just pray that his family will receive the answer as to what happened to this child. It will not bring him back but at least hopefully they will have answers to put their minds and hearts to rest about what happened.
Mlb September 28, 2012 at 03:45 PM
As a mother I grieve with this family. May they somehow find peace and answers in this storm
Melanie September 28, 2012 at 07:45 PM
Thank you for pointing that out Patricia. They are our children...all children everywhere. Whenever I hear news of a child good or bad, I see that child as if he or she were my own, and I grieve or rejoice, whichever the case. It makes no sense for a child to be a victim of a preventable circumstance. As we continue to grieve, it is also important to address the issues that led us to these two senseless losses, so that we won't have to lose anymore of our children this way.
Jennifer Fisher September 28, 2012 at 07:48 PM
For those who are wondering, the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office has ruled on Maddula's death: http://evanston.patch.com/articles/medical-examiner-nu-student-died-of-accidental-drowning

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