No quick answers in Harsha Maddula investigation


Steven Pfost/Newsday

Family members grieve outside Harsha Maddula’s funeral in New Hyde Park, N.Y. Northwestern chaplain Timothy Stevens reportedly spoke during the service.

Patrick Svitek, Online Managing Editor

Officials signaled Monday that the investigation into Harsha Maddula’s death may not bring immediate closure.

A spokeswoman from the Cook County medical examiner’s office said it could “take years or months” to figure out how the McCormick sophomore drowned in Lake Michigan. Maddula’s body was found floating near Wilmette Harbor on Thursday evening.

His funeral was Monday in New Hyde Park, N.Y. Northwestern chaplain Timothy Stevens reportedly attended the service.

Toxicology results due back in six to eight weeks could shed some light on Maddula’s manner of death, which remains undetermined. But even those tests may fall short of valuable insight without additional context provided by law enforcement agencies, according to the medical examiner’s office spokeswoman.

Both the spokeswoman and Evanston Police Department Cmdr. Jay Parrott have agreed that Maddula’s death was not diabetes-related.

A Maddula family spokeswoman previously told reporters that his parents do not believe their son’s death “had anything to do with his diabetic condition.”

Parrott said EPD investigators are continuing to re-examine interviews with anyone who may have have seen Maddula before he left an off-campus party in the early morning hours of Sept. 22.

Investigators on Monday started inspecting Maddula’s computer for any hints about his disappearance, Parrott said.

In an email, Wilmette Police Chief Brian King reiterated that authorities do not believe foul play was involved in Maddula’s death.

“There were no signs of a struggle or anything to suggest that a crime occurred,” King said. “Whether (Maddula) went into the water accidentally or intentionally we simply cannot tell.”