Northwestern student Harsha Maddula, 18, missing

September 25, 2012 (CHICAGO)

The family of Harsha Maddula has flown in from New York to help locate their son. They hope they can help locate the Northwestern undergrad.

At this point, this is considered a missing persons case. Northwestern officials say there is no indication of foul play.

The university said it is doing everything in its power in the effort to find Maddula, a sophomore who came to campus a week early to help incoming freshman.

Tuesday afternoon, Harsha Maddula's friends and people he has never met passed out flyers with a picture and description of the 18-year-old, straight-A, pre-med sophomore.

"He just came Wednesday over here to help first-year students," said mother Dhannalakshmi Maddula. "Classes start this Thursday, but he wants to help. He's a very helping boy and he's so good. I don't know what happened."

Maddula's mother and father flew in from Long Island to look for their son and to find answers that have so far painfully eluded them.

"He's never disappeared, never vanished," said Prasad Maddula, Harsha's father. "We want him to go to Northwestern. He wants to go to Northwestern. He went to Northwestern. He wants to study hard. He wants to achieve his goal. I don't know after the party what happened to him, and nobody can find him."

Friday evening, Harsha Maddula was with friends at an off-campus party. He and others left around 12:30 a.m. Saturday morning, heading -- it is believed -- for another party when Maddula disappeared.

University police have interviewed those who were with him and found no leads. They have checked Maddula's cell phone and ATM numbers -- nothing.

Surveillance camera footage from Maddula's dorm in the heart of campus does not show Maddula on it, nor do records show he entered the building with his electronic dorm key.

"Right now there's just no new leads," said Alan Cubbage, vice president for university relations at Northwestern. "There's no indication of any danger to the community. There's no indication of any foul play."

Tuesday afternoon, university police met with dozens of students who responded to personal appeals and Facebook postings in their desire to help with search parties, even though most of them don't know Harsha Maddula.

"If I were missing, I would want everyone looking for me," said student Samantha Stahl. "Each set of eyes is someone else looking and maybe in a place other people wouldn't have thought of."

Maddula's mother tells ABC7 that on Friday morning she had a phone conversation with Harsha. She says he was in great spirits, looking forward to the following weekend and the coming week on campus.

Maddula learned last December he has diabetes, but his parents say he had learned how to manage how to manage both his diet and what he drinks.

ABC7 visited the site of the off-campus party house where he was last seen.

"NUPD has been to this house multiple times and we've given out all of the information we have, it's all on record," said Moritz Gellner, host of the party. He said he did not personally see Maddula there.

Maddula's family is frustrated more people who were at the party haven't come forward.

"Help his family search for him. You're his friends, right?" said Sushma Maddula, aunt. "When they're not, I feel like they're hiding something."

"No one is going to get into trouble. We understand there was a lot of underage drinking, underage drugs. I don't think that's the point. The point is that there is someone who is 19 years old who is missing," said Surekha Maddula, aunt.

Meanwhile, neighbors say the partying at the house where Maddula was last seen has continued.

"There was one last night and there was one a couple of nights ago," said Jenna Casady, neighbor. "That one also went on till two or three in the morning."

"I have no comment," said Gellner when asked about the alleged parties.

Missing student Harsha Maddula is described as:

  • Male of Indian descent,
  • 5' 4" tall, 135 pounds,
  • black hair,
  • wearing black-framed glasses,
  • gray, long-sleeve sweater with white and black stitching,
  • dark gray pants,
  • brown shoes.

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