Harsha Maddula's body found in harbor, school says

Left, volunteers gather at Northwestern University to search Left, volunteers gather at Northwestern University to search for sophomore Harsha Maddula of New Hyde Park, who was missing since Sept. 22, 2012 before his body was found. Right, handout photo of Harsha Maddula. (Sept. 27, 2012) Photo Credit: Northwestern University; Handout

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The body of a Northwestern University student from Long Island was found Thursday night in harbor waters that had been searched Wednesday without any results, the school said.

University police were notified about 7 p.m. that Harsha Maddula, 18, of New Hyde Park, missing since Saturday, was pulled out of Wilmette Harbor, about 2 miles north of his dorm on the university's campus in Evanston, Ill.

"Maddula's wallet with his Northwestern ID card and his mobile phone were found on the body," university officials said in a news release.

His parents, who arrived in Evanston on Monday, could not be reached yesterday.

But one of Maddula's cousins said relatives were gripped by the enormity of their loss.

"It's a really difficult time," said Soumya Maddula, in tears early Friday morning. "We were all just hoping for the best. This is kind of everyone's worse nightmare. We just want to know what happened to him, but we have no information. We're waiting just like everyone else."

Wilmette police, who found the body, saw no signs of foul play, the school said.

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"On behalf of Northwestern University, I extend our deepest sympathies to Harsha's family and to his many friends at Northwestern," university president Morton Schapiro said. The harbor had been searched Wednesday after a cell tower there received a signal from Maddula's cellphone about 1 a.m. Saturday. He was last seen leaving an off-campus party about 12:30 a.m.

Northwestern University police Thursday had started re-interviewing the last people to see or speak with Maddula, a premed sophomore, the university said yesterday. Maddula graduated from high school in New Hyde Park in 2011.

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