Harsha Maddula: Search for missing Northwestern University student continues as classes begin

Undated personal photo of Harsha Maddula.
Personal photo
Harsha Maddula
Personal photo

(CBS/WBBM) EVANSTON, Ill. - Students at Northwestern University began their new school year Thursday as police continued to search for their classmate Harsha Maddula, who has been missing since Saturday.

PICTURES: Northwestern student missing

According to CBS Chicago, police spent Wednesday searching the area in and near Wilmette Harbor in Lake Michigan, about two miles north of the dorm in Evanston where Maddula lived. Cell phone activity indicates that the 18-year-old may have been near the harbor around the time of his disappearance.

"An examination of cell phone activity shows that the closest tower to the last signal received was here in Gilson Park, at the U.S. Coast Guard Station, in Wilmette," Northwestern spokesman Al Cubbage reportedly said. Cubbage says the search will continue in both the water around the Coast Guard station, and on the ground.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Maddula's family said the missing student would not normally visit a place like the harbor because he's more of an indoors person, and did not like activities like swimming and boating.

Maddula, a sophomore at the McCormick School of Engineering, was last seen around 12:30 a.m. on Saturday after he left a party he had attended with a group of friends.

Friend and family of Maddula have announced a $25,000 reward for information leading to the discovery of his whereabouts.

"Please, I want my baby back home," said his mother, Dhanalakshmi Maddula, CBS Chicago reports.

According to CBS Chicago, Maddula is 5 feet 8 inches tall, 149 pounds, and of Indian descent. He was last seen wearing a grey long-sleeved sweater with black and white stitching, dark grey pants and brown shoes.

Anyone with information that could help lead police to the missing student is urged to call Northwestern Police at (847) 491-3456.

More on CrimesiderSeptember 25, 2012 - Harsha Maddula Missing: Search continues for missing Northwestern student