Body of missing Northwestern student found, community mourns - FOX 32 News Chicago

Northwestern student death ruled a drowning, case is 'undetermined'

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EVANSTON, Ill. (FOX 32 News) -

Autopsy results show a Northwestern University student found in a suburban Chicago harbor drowned, but the circumstances remain unclear.

The ME's office said Friday that the manner of 18-year-old Harsha Maddula's death was undetermined because there was not enough information to rule it an accident, a homicide or a suicide.

Maddula, from New Hyde Park, N.Y., disappeared after leaving an off-campus party after midnight last Friday, setting off days of searching by police and fellow students. His family had offered a $25,000 reward for information on his whereabouts.

His body was pulled from Wilmette Harbor on Thursday night after it was spotted by a boater. Authorities, including dive teams, had focused their search in the area north of Evanston because a signal from his cell phone registered with a nearby communications tower around 1 a.m. Saturday.

SEE: Family of missing Northwestern student offers $25K reward

Maddula's wallet with a university identification card and cell phone were found on the body, which showed no signs of foul play, said Northwestern spokesman Alan Cubbage.

"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 a statement.

Relatives, friends, fellow students are paying their condolences to Harsha's family, and writing about him too.

While Harsha's parents have yet to make a statement, is cousin, Sushma Maddula, spoke at a press conference saying, "This was not suicide. I want you all to know that Harsha's character would never do something along those lines. He is an amazing kid. He is actually the smartest kid in my entire family. He wanted to be a doctor so badly. He begged his parents to come to Northwestern."

Students, friends, and strangers posted memorial messages and prayers to Harsha's family.

Maddula was a sophomore in Northwestern's McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science.

Investigators are still trying to determine why he ended up two miles north of the party and whether he was alone or had left the party with friends.

Wilmette police had no comment.

His parents, Prasad Maddula and Dhana Lakshmi Maddula, and other relatives arrived in Evanston on Monday to join the search for the student, who had been recently diagnosed with diabetes.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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