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Search Resumes Tomorrow For Missing Northwestern Student

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Harsha Maddula

Northwestern University student Harsha Maddula, 19, has been missing since early Saturday morning. (Credit: Maddula family)

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UPDATED 09/25/12 – 8:27 p.m.

EVANSTON, Ill. (CBS) — The search will resume Wednesday morning for a missing Northwestern University student.

The decision to halt the search early disappointed Harsha Maddula’s aunt, Surekah, who is one of a host of family members flying in from New York.

She said family members all believe that the 18-year-old Northwestern sophomore’s disappearance is linked to his recently-diagnosed Diabetes, which forced him to return to New York earlier this year.

“All of us cousins actually had to beg his parents to let him go back to college, to be honest, because they were concerned that he had this new illness,” she said.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bob Roberts reports

Surekah said her nephew had been on campus for only two days when he went missing.

“This is completely out of character for him,” she said. “His parents are actually quite careful with him. He’s also a very responsible kid. He doesn’t go out. He doesn’t party. He doesn’t drink.”

Surekah said she fears that he is comatose on a floor somewhere. He left a party in the 2000 block of Ridge Avenue, west of the main campus, and less than a mile from his dorm at about 12:30 a.m. Saturday.

He sent a text message a short time later indicating that he was returning to his room, but University spokesman Alan Cubbage said that there is no sign of the student on the dorm’s security cameras or keycard logs.

Sources who saw Maddula at the party told the Daily Northwestern that he was coherent, and was not obviously intoxicated or stumbling.

No one has seen him since.

The Daily Northwestern reports Meddula was contacted, but not seen, at 6:45 p.m. Saturday, and by Sunday afternoon, he officially became a missing person.

Maddula’s family flew in from the Long Island town of New Hyde Park, N.Y. His mother, Dhanalakshmi Maddula, was sobbing as she spoke.

“If any information – anything, if you can find anything – please let us know, we’d really appreciate it,” she said. “He’s a diabetic, and I don’t know what condition he’s in right now.”

Harsha Maddula’s father, Prasad Maddula, said the family is frustrated by what they say is a lack of help from authorities.

“We need help. We have no response from the dean. We have no response from the school. Nobody is approaching us. Nobody is taking our phone calls. We went to the police. We approached the FBI. The FBI is refusing to join in the investigating,” Prasad Maddula said.

He implored fellow students to do their part in helping find his son.

“It has been three days that the kid is missing. Please, the case has to be escalated,” he said. “We want all the students to come out of their dorms and search for this kid. He’s your brother. He’s missing in the campus.”

The family has also set up a Facebook group seeking information about Maddula’s whereabouts.

Cubbage said University and Evanston Police have not yet been able to scan other security videos from other locations on campus at the time he disappeared, but he said it would be unlikely that anyone on campus would not know of his disappearance. He said that the university has sent e-mails to students, posted messages on its home page.

Cubbage indicated that Northwestern and the family had contacted the FBI, which has also joined the investigation.

Although early reports indicated that Maddula is 5’ 3” tall and weighs 135 lb., the flyer distributed by the family indicates that he is 5’ 8” in height and weighs 149 lb. He has black hair and dark brown eyes, and wears black-frame glasses.

He was last seen wearing a grey long-sleeved sweater with black and white stitching, dark grey pants and brown shoes.

He is a sophomore at the McCormick School of Engineering at Northwestern, and lives in the Public Affairs Residential College – commonly known as PARC – at 1838 Chicago Ave. in Evanston.

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

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