Search for missing college student from Long Island - New York News

Search for missing college student from Long Island

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The FBI is working with Northwestern University and Evanston police to find an 18-year-old student from Long Island who went missing early Saturday after leaving party near the north suburban campus.

NU sophomore Harsha Maddula, 18, was last seen leaving the party in the 2000 block of Ridge Avenue about 12:30 a.m. Saturday, the university said in a statement.

Maddula went to the party with a group of about 10 friends and disappeared after some of them left to go to a second location, possibly another party, his aunt Surekha Maddula said.

His parents and uncle arrived in Evanston on Monday from their home on Long Island to help search for the pre-med engineering student. They say Maddula is a straight-A student and that it would be out of character for him to simply disappear.

The search broadened to Wilmette on Wednesday, where crews were searching the harbor on Lake Michigan.

"I don't know where he is," mother Dhanalakashmi Maddula said. "He is diabetic without food. He's very responsible student. He's so good. He's quiet, he don't like parties."

"Somebody kidnapped him, that's all I can guess," continued Prasad Maddula, Harsha's father. "I cannot guess anything more than that because if he is unconscious or something someone will find him and call the police."

His family announced Wednesday afternoon that they are offering a $25,000 reward for information that would lead to his whereabouts.

Northwestern's chief of police and vice president for student affairs met Tuesday morning with Maddula's parents, according to university spokesman Alan Cubbage.

University police met with the FBI Tuesday morning and the statewide Terrorism and Intelligence Center has been notified, as well as the Cook County Department of Emergency Management.

University police have interviewed the students who were with Maddula at the party and in his residence hall, and searched the area near campus where he was last seen. In addition, university police reviewed closed-circuit TV tapes and electronic key data for the residence hall, but neither indicate he returned that night, the statement said.

Maddula is a "very, very good kid" and the eldest of three siblings, his aunt said.

"He's a very, very ambitious kid. He's not the type of kid who goes out and parties," Surekha Maddula said, adding he has never gone missing before.

He disappeared just three days after he returned to campus from Long Island, where his tight-knit family was helping him recover after he was recently diagnosed with diabetes, she said. They fear the worst.

The family has set up a Facebook group hoping for information.

Groups of students gathered outside the university police department Tuesday. Many who have never met Maddula volunteered to search for him.

"You need to get to the students first because with over 40-something students there, someone had to see this young man turn left or right," said community activist Andrew Holmes.

Maddula is described as a 5-foot-4, 135-pound male of Indian descent, with black hair. He wears black-framed glasses.

He was last seen wearing a gray long-sleeved sweater with black and white stitching, dark gray pants and brown shoes, the website said. Maddula lives in the campus' Public Affairs Residential College in the 1800 block of Chicago Avenue in Evanston.

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

Anyone with information should call Northwestern University Police at (847) 491-3254.

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