Updated at noon Thursday.

The search of Wilmette Harbor for Harsha Maddula has been called off after a day-long search Wednesday failed to turn up signs of the missing Northwestern University student, but officials are still “hopeful” he will be found.

A university spokesman told a news briefing Thursday morning that the school’s police department, assisted by more than two dozen fire and police agencies, including the FBI, will continue their investigation today into his disappearance.

The search Wednesday had focused on the harbor area because records of Maddula’s cell phone activity showed that the closest cell phone tower to the last signal received from his phone was in that area. The signal was received about 1 a.m. Saturday, shortly after Maddula, a sophomore, was last seen at an off-campus party.

Chicago media on the Evanston campus for an 11 a.m. briefing.

Students and other members of the Northwestern community are expected to continue to assist in the search today, according to Alan Cubbage, who heads up the university’s public relations department.

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.

NU spokesman Alan Cubbage: “There are no indications of foul play.”

Cubbage gave no specific reasons for optimism, but said there was no indication of foul play, and “it is important that we maintain hope.”

He added that the fall quarter, which began Thursday, was off to “a somber start.” The last time a student was declared missing at Northwestern was four years ago, Cubbage said, and he was not found alive.

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

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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1 Comment

  1. Search canal?

    Did the search include the canal area?
    I'm not aware of how precise the cell phone location information can be, but the canal (and surrounding trees) is very close to the Harbor.
    Many positive thoughts to Harsha and his family.

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