Police search Wilmette Harbor for missing Northwestern student - FOX 32 News Chicago

Family of missing Northwestern student offers $25K reward

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

The search at the Wilmette Harbor for a missing Northwestern University student was called off Thursday morning after a two-day search near the docks and lake produced no sign of the 18-year-old. Hundreds of NU students showed up in the afternoon to search for one of their own.

Harsha Maddula, an NU sophomore, was last seen Saturday at 12:30 a.m. after leaving a party.

SEE: Search continues for missing Northwestern University student

His family announced Wednesday afternoon that they are offering a $25,000 reward for information that would lead to the whereabouts of their son. They just want to find him safe.

Crews from local fire departments and the U.S. Coast Guard searched Wilmette Harbor on Lake Michigan, near Sheridan Road and Michigan Avenue. Fox Chicago News was at Daws Park near Sheridan Road Thursday when boaters thought they saw something suspicious in the lake. Dive teams found nothing.

According to a release from the university, cell phone activity for Maddula's phone showed "that the closest cell phone tower to the last signal received from his phone was in that area. The signal was received early in the morning of Sept. 22, shortly after Maddula was last seen at an off-campus party."

Law enforcement officials say this is the best lead they have. Maddula's mother wept as the massive search continued with the help of dozens of volunteers.

The harbor is about two miles north of Maddula's residence hall on Northwestern's Evanston campus, according to the university.

The search was conducted by members of law enforcement agencies and divers from local fire departments and the U.S. Coast Guard. Authorities used sonar equipment and did an extensive land search using K-9 units to find any clue about Maddula's whereabouts. They searched boats docked in the harbor as well.

Maddula is described as a male of Indian descent, 18 years old, 5 -foot-8 and 150 pounds with black hair and dark brown eyes. He was last seen wearing black-framed glasses, a grey long-sleeve sweater with white and black stitching, dark grey pants and brown shoes.

Anyone with information should call Northwestern police at (847) 491-3254.

The Chicago Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.

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