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On Sept. 27, a fisherman found the body of Harsha Maddula floating near boats in a Wilmette Harbor. Mr. Maddula, a sophomore at Northwestern University, disappeared on Sept. 22 after attending an off-campus party. The discovery ended a six-day search which included 21 law enforcement agencies and fire departments, hundreds of NU students and the FBI.
Mr. Maddula’s cellphone pinged a cell tower near Wilmette Harbor shortly after he left the party at about 12:30 a.m. His wallet, Northwestern ID card and cell phone were found with the body. Wilmette Police Chief Brian King said there were no signs of a struggle or anything to suggest that a crime had occurred.
The Cook County medical examiner concluded that Mr. Maddula had drowned. The medical examiner made no finding as to whether his death was accidental.
Mr. Maddula’s family rejected suicide as a possibility, saying he was eager to return to Northwestern to help incoming freshman orient to life at NU. His family asked that police continue their investigation.
“On behalf of Northwestern University, I extend our deepest sympathies to Harsha’s family and to his many friends at Northwestern,” NU president Morton Schapiro said in a prepared statement. “Our hearts and thoughts are with them. The loss of one member of the Northwestern community deeply affects us all.”
Funeral services were held in New Hyde Park, New York, on Oct. 1. Hundreds of family and friends gathered to remember him.