Updated: Northwestern spokesman: Harsha Maddula's disappearance 'somber start' to school year
September 27, 2012
Update, 5:30 p.m. Thursday:
Cubbage said authorities are still trying to piece together what happened after Maddula left an off-campus party early Saturday morning.
University Police is interviewing and re-interviewing students who may have spotted Maddula during the few hours before he was last seen, Cubbage said. Among those students: "More than a dozen" partygoers who may have crossed paths with Maddula at the Ridge Avenue party, he added.
He also said that authorities have searched the house at which the party was held but did not find anything relevant to the ongoing investigation.
Update, noon Thursday:
Northwestern spokesman Al Cubbage this morning implored students to come forward with more information about Maddula's disappearance, calling it a "somber start to the school year" on the first day of classes.
"The start of the school year is a wonderful time. Clearly this casts a shadow over the start of the school year," Cubbage told reporters during a news conference on the NU campus.
Cubbage said authorities have not received any new information since Wednesday, when they launched a "massive search effort" at the harbor.
"The biggest challenge is that we haven't heard anything" new today, Cubbage told reporters.
The University announced earlier in the morning that authorities had called off the harbor search for today. At the news conference, Cubbage said wind conditions caused the cancellation and authorities still may return to the Wilmette lakefront.
He stressed that Maddula's disappearance is still being treated as a case of a missing person and investigators are not ruling anything out, including the harbor.
"We're not closing anything out," he said. "We're being as thorough as we can."
Authorities have called off an elaborate search effort for missing Northwestern student Harsha Maddula around Wilmette Harbor on Lake Michigan.
In a news release this morning, University spokesman Al Cubbage said the Maddula manhunt will continue closer to campus today because the harbor operation was unsuccessful.
"No sign of the missing student was found, either on land or in the water," Cubbage said.
The search for the McCormick sophomore spread to the harbor Wednesday after authorities traced the last signal he received on his cell phone to a nearby service tower. By the end of the day, more than 20 law enforcement agencies, fire departments, divers and sonar specialists were combing through the harbor and its surrounding land.
University Police is spearheading two major search parties for student volunteers today. One started earlier this morning and the other departs from the University Housing building at 4 p.m.
Maddula was last seen early Saturday morning leaving an off-campus party on Ridge Avenue.
— Patrick Svitek