Harsha Maddula was last seen leaving an off-campus house party in Evanston, Ill. shortly after midnight Saturday, Sept. 22. University officials said the 18-year-old told friends that he was returning to his dorm, but surveillance video and his electronic key card have shown Maddula never made it back.
He was reported missing after he missed a meeting later in the day. The university notified his parents, Parsad and Dhannalakshmi Maddula, who flew to Chicago on Sunday morning to rally local law enforcement and search parties.
“My family and I are so grateful for all the support that we’ve been getting from the community,” Harsha’s cousin, Srinu Maddula, said in a video he posted online Thursday. Srinu, along with almost two dozen other family members, flew to Chicago to help search efforts.
“He was a straight-A student, a bio-med and a pre-med student,” the cousin said. “He’s just a good kid, he doesn’t drink, he doesn’t smoke, he doesn’t do drugs, and he just loves to study. And most of all he loves school.”
Another concern for the missing teen is his December 2011 diagnosis of diabetes. Authorities believe he does not have medication on him.
Six days after Maddula was reported missing and still the only lead investigators reportedly have is a ping from Harsha’s iPhone close to Lake Michigan in the neighboring town of Wilmette. Local fire department and the U.S. Coast Guard have sent dive teams to scour the lake bed and docked boats. The FBI is also assisting in the investigation.
Maddula’s parents have issued a $25,000 reward for information that leads to the return of their son.
The Facebook group “Harsha Maddula is missing,” swelled to over 3,500 members Thursday.