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Missing Student Harsha Maddula Chronology

Timeline of the events related to Northwestern student Harsha Maddula

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September 28, 2012 | by Alan K. Cubbage
Harsha Maddula
Harsha Maddula

NORTHWESTERN COMMEMORATES HARSHA MADDULA

Nearly 2,000 Northwestern University students, faculty, staff and community members gathered this evening on Deering Meadow to pay their respects, say prayers and honor the memory of Harsha Maddula, the missing sophomore who passed away this week.

The somber but uplifting program featured speakers from several student groups, University leaders and President Morton Schapiro, who called Harsha “an inspiration to us all.”

President Schapiro evoked the spirit of Yom Kippur this week and the holiest day in the Jewish calendar to underscore his deep sorrow for the loss of Harsha to his family members, fellow students and community members, noting that he had prayed for Harsha all week and would continue to keep him in his heart and prayers.

Assistant Chaplain Tahera Ahmad said, “Although this week has brought grief and sadness, it made us realize that we are family, and Harsha was one of us. We will always remember Harsha for who he was, a great source of happiness, a great source of joy.”

Under a nearly full moon, with the speakers bathed in lights and Deering Library as a dramatic backdrop, the crowd stretched across the width of Deering Meadow, standing more than 20 deep in many places. 

The quiet assembly formed a semicircle around the Deering steps, where student leaders and speakers from the University, a representative of the family, and members of at least five different faith groups said prayers from the Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Jewish and Baha'i religions.

The South Asian student a capella group, Brown Sugar, sang a moving version of the Beyonce song, "Halo," with part of the lyrics in Hindi and Arabic, in honor of Harsha. 

“We are one Northwestern,” said Victor Shao, ASG president.

As the gathering came to a close, the community sang the University Alma Mater softly, with the strains of "Hail to purple, Hail to white" echoing across the meadow in the darkness before the crowd slowly dispersed.

- Updated Sept. 28, 10:15 p.m.


COMMUNITY GATHERING FOR HARSHA MADDULA

The Northwestern University community is invited to gather at Deering Meadow at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 28, to provide solace and support to the family and friends of Harsha Maddula.

All Northwestern students, faculty and staff are welcome to attend. President Morton Schapiro, student leaders and others will speak, and it will be an opportunity for all members of the community to come together.

- Updated Sept. 28, 3:20 p.m.


MESSAGE FROM PRESIDENT MORTON SCHAPIRO TO THE NORTHWESTERN COMMUNITY

Dear Members of the Northwestern Community:

I am saddened to report that the body of a Northwestern undergraduate student, Harsha Maddula, who has been missing since last Saturday, has been found in Wilmette Harbor.

Harsha was a sophomore in the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science from New Hyde Park, New York. 

On behalf of Northwestern University, I extend our deepest sympathies to Harsha's family and to his many friends at Northwestern. Our thoughts are with them. The loss of one member of the Northwestern community deeply affects us all, and as we start the new academic year, normally a time of joy and optimism, we do so this year with a heavy heart.

I also would like to thank Northwestern University Police and all the other law enforcement agencies and fire departments that were involved in the search for Harsha during the past few days. Their work, along with that of our Student Affairs staff, and the tremendous show of support from our students demonstrates clearly the compassion and commitment of the Northwestern family. 

I know that this tragic loss will affect many of us. I urge you to contact Counseling and Psychological Services or the Chaplain's Office if you feel the need to do so. 

Again, we offer our profound sympathy to Harsha's family and his fellow students. We join them in mourning the loss of a member of our community. 

Morton Schapiro, President and Professor

- Updated Sept. 27, 10:00 p.m.


BODY FOUND IN WILMETTE HARBOR IDENTIFIED AS MISSING NORTHWESTERN STUDENT

A body that has been recovered from the water in Wilmette Harbor appears to be that of a missing Northwestern University student, Harsha Maddula, University Police said tonight (Sept. 27). 

University Police were notified shortly before 7 p.m. that a body was found in the water in the harbor. Maddula's wallet with his Northwestern ID card and his mobile phone were found on the body. 

Wilmette Police investigators on the scene said there were no signs of foul play on the body. 

"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," said University President Morton Schapiro. "The loss of one member of the Northwestern community deeply affects us all."

Maddula, from New Hyde Park, N.Y., was a sophomore in Northwestern's McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science. 

Maddula was last seen Sept. 22 at approximately 12:30 a.m. leaving a party off campus. Northwestern police and community service officers, aided by personnel from more than 20 law enforcement agencies and fire departments, on Wednesday conducted a search of the waters in Wilmette Harbor and Lake Michigan near the harbor. 

Police focused the search yesterday on the Wilmette Harbor area because an examination of 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 on the morning of Sept. 22, shortly after Maddula was last seen.

Staff members from Counseling and Psychological Services are available for students who wish to talk with them and may be contacted at 847-491-2151. 

- Updated Sept. 27, 10:00 p.m.


VOLUNTEERS SEARCH FOR MISSING STUDENT

More than 300 volunteer students, community residents and friends and family members of Harsha Maddula fanned out across Northwestern University's north campus and surrounding neighborhoods in Evanston this afternoon (Sept. 27) to search for the missing Northwestern sophomore.

Northwestern University Police Commander Darren Davis, Lt. Kenneth Jones and fellow officers briefed the volunteers who gathered at a University building at 600 Haven St., gave them assignments and asked them to report back after their search on anything helpful they may have discovered.

The group lined up along the sidewalk of Haven Street west of Sheridan Road to await their instructions from police, who handed out multi-colored maps with search grids marked in colors and by numbers. Then they dispersed in different directions for a two-hour search organized by the University--the second such event of the day.

The volunteers included students, Evanston residents and others who came to help. Two women from Kenilworth and Wilmette, who were with a group of self-described "empty-nesters," said they both had children who had graduated from Northwestern.

If you have any information on the whereabouts of Harsha Maddula, please contact Northwestern University Police at 847-491-3254. 
 

- Updated Sept. 27, 6:10 p.m.


SEARCH CONTINUES FOR MISSING STUDENT

Northwestern University Police and other law enforcement agencies will continue their investigation today (Sept. 27) into a missing Northwestern student, Harsha Maddula. However, the search for Maddula in the area of Wilmette Harbor in Wilmette, Ill. will not continue today, after a search in that area yesterday was not successful.

Northwestern police and community service officers, aided by personnel from more than 20 law enforcement agencies and fire departments, on Wednesday conducted a thorough search of the waters in the harbor and Lake Michigan near the harbor. In addition, search teams combed the areas of land near the harbor. No sign of the missing student was found, either on land or in the water.

Police focused the search yesterday on the Wilmette Harbor area because an examination of 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 on the morning of Sept. 22, shortly after Maddula was last seen at an off-campus party.

University Police and other agencies involved will continue the investigation today.

In addition, students and other members of the Northwestern community are expected to continue to assist in the search for Maddula today. Volunteers are being sought to help search areas in Evanston under the direction of University Police, with one group beginning a search at 9 a.m. and another group at 4 p.m. Volunteers will meet at the University building located at 600 Haven St., Evanston.

Maddula, a sophomore at Northwestern, was last seen Sept. 22 at approximately 12:30 a.m. leaving a party off campus.
Maddula is described as a male of Indian descent, 18 years old, 5 feet 8 inches tall, approximately 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. 





If you have any information on the whereabouts of Harsha Maddula, please contact Northwestern University Police at 847-491-3254. 


- Updated Sept. 27, 8:20 a.m.


AGENCIES EXPAND SEARCH FOR MISSING STUDENT

Northwestern University Police and other law enforcement agencies expanded their search Wednesday afternoon for a missing Northwestern student, Harsha Maddula, to the area around Wilmette Harbor and other areas of the harbor and Lake Michigan.

The search earlier Wednesday by police and fire departments and divers from the Chicago area has not yet found Maddula. Authorities have brought in new resources from neighboring suburbs, including more divers to extend the search and a sonar team from Lake and McHenry counties, to examine the waters in Wilmette Harbor.

Law enforcement personnel also conducted an extensive ground search in the area adjoining and near the harbor.

Police and fire units from Evanston, Wilmette, Chicago, Cook County and suburban departments participated in the search. A total of 21 law enforcement agencies and fire departments were involved in the search.

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

Wilmette Harbor is approximately two miles north of Maddula's residence hall on Northwestern's Evanston campus.

The search is being conducted by members of law enforcement agencies, divers from local fire departments and the U.S. Coast Guard. They have been searching the harbor and the boats docked in the harbor as well.

Maddula, a sophomore at Northwestern, was last seen Sept. 22 at approximately 12:30 a.m. leaving a party off campus. He is a resident of the Public Affairs Residential College on Northwestern's Evanston campus. A missing person report was sent statewide to law enforcement agencies Sept. 23.

Maddula is described as a male of Indian descent, 18 years old, 5 feet 8 inches tall, approximately 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. 

If you have any information on the whereabouts of Harsha Maddula, please contact Northwestern University Police at 847-491-3254. 

- Updated Sept. 26, 5:10 p.m. 


SEARCH WIDENS FOR MISSING STUDENT

Northwestern University Police and other law enforcement agencies have widened their search for a missing Northwestern student, Harsha Maddula, to include the area of Wilmette Harbor on Lake Michigan, near Sheridan Road and Michigan Avenue in Wilmette.

An examination of cellphone activity for Maddula's phone showed that the closest cellphone 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.

Wilmette Harbor is approximately two miles north of Maddula's residence hall on Northwestern's Evanston campus.

The search is being conducted by members of law enforcement agencies and divers from local fire departments and the U.S. Coast Guard. They are searching boats docked in the harbor as well.

Maddula, a sophomore at Northwestern, was last seen Sept. 22 at approximately 12:30 a.m. leaving a party off campus. He is a resident of the Public Affairs Residential College on Northwestern's Evanston campus. A missing person report was sent statewide to law enforcement agencies Sept. 23.

Maddula is described as a male of Indian descent, 18 years old, 5 feet 8 inches tall, approximately 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. 

If you have any information on the whereabouts of Harsha Maddula, please contact Northwestern University Police at 847-491-3254.

- Updated Sept. 26, 10:30 a.m. 


UPDATE ON MISSING STUDENT

Northwestern University Police are continuing their investigation and search for a missing Northwestern student, Harsha Maddula, who was reported missing this weekend. All appropriate law enforcement agencies have been notified and are being brought in to assist with the investigation. 

Maddula, a sophomore at Northwestern, was last seen Sept. 22 at approximately 12:30 a.m. leaving a party off-campus. He is a resident of the Public Affairs Residential College on Northwestern's Evanston campus. A missing person report was sent statewide to law enforcement agencies on Sept. 23. 

University Police believe there is no indication of any danger or threat to other members of the Northwestern community.

Following is an update on the investigation: University Police have requested assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and met with officials from the FBI this morning. The Evanston Police Department is assisting with the investigation. The Statewide Terrorism and Intelligence Center has been notified, as well as Cook County Department of Emergency Management. University Police have interviewed the students who were with Maddula and in his residence hall and searched the area near campus where he was last seen. In addition, UP has reviewed closed circuit TV tapes and electronic key data for Maddula's residence hall, but neither indicate that he returned to his residence hall that night. Northwestern's chief of police and vice president for student affairs met this morning with Maddula's parents, who arrived on campus last night. A message notifying people of Maddula's disappearance and containing his description has been sent to the entire campus community. Information also has been posted on the University's home page and social media sites. 

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



If you have any information on the whereabouts of Harsha Maddula, please contact Northwestern University Police at 847-491-3254.
Staff members from Counseling and Psychological Services are available for students who wish to talk with them and may be contacted at 847-491-2151.

- Updated Sept. 25, 2:15 p.m.


FIRST MESSAGE REGARDING MISSING STUDENT

A Northwestern University sophomore, Harsha Maddula, who lives in Public Affairs Residential College (PARC Hall), 1838 Chicago Avenue, Evanston, has been reported missing. Harsha was last seen on September 22 at approximately 12:30 a.m. leaving a party at 2013 Ridge Ave. 
Harsha is described as a male of Indian descent, 18 years old, 5 feet 8 inches tall, approximately 150 pounds, with black hair and wearing black-framed glasses. He was last seen wearing a grey long sleeve sweater with white and black stitching. He was also wearing dark grey pants and brown shoes. 
If you have any information on the whereabouts of Harsha Maddula, please contact Northwestern University Police at 847-491-3254. Posted September 28, 2012, 03:50 PM.

- Posted Sept. 24, 8:35 p.m. (description edited Sept. 25)

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