At approximately 7 p.m. Thursday, as hundreds of Northwestern students gathered for a vigil for the missing 18-year-old sophomore, word spread that police had a break in the case: someone fishing in Wilmette Harbor had found a body floating in the water between docked boats.
"Maddula's wallet with his Northwestern ID card and his cell phone were found on the body. Wilmette police, who were on the scene, said there were no signs of foul play on the body," said Alan Cubbage, Northwestern University vice president for university relations.
Maddula was last seen early Saturday leaving an off-campus party approximately two miles away from the harbor. It is not known why or how he arrived at the harbor or how he died.
Earlier this week, police focused their search on the area around Wilmette Harbor after a nearby cell tower detected a signal from Maddula's cell phone.
Since his disappearance, hundreds of students and strangers had been searching for Maddula.
"It certainly moved... the students, the community at large," one Northwestern student said. "You see so many groups getting organized. There were the search parties. I think that even the students who didn't know him were affected."
"He's been missing for a while. Ithink a lot of us have been losing some hope. To get some closure, is a little bit gratifying even though it is such sad news," another student said.
Friday is the second day of fall classes on campus at Northwestern University. School officials sent out an e-mail to students about the sad discovery. Grief counselors were expected to be on hand to help students deal with the Maddula's death.