Maddula toxicology report complete, but questions remain

Cat Zakrzewski, Assistant In Focus Editor

Although Harsha Maddula’s toxicology report is now complete, police still cannot conclude exactly how the McCormick sophomore died.

A spokesperson from the Cook County medical examiner’s office said Tuesday the medical examiner’s written report is pending due to additional ordered tests. The results of the toxicology test are only available to family members at this time.

The cause of death — drowning — was announced the day after Maddula’s body was found. The manner of death remains undetermined.

“There does not appear to be any foul play at this time,” Evanston Police Department spokesman Cmdr. Jay Parrott said. “Most likely the death was accidental in nature with a contributing factor of alcohol. We’re waiting on that report to find out if there were any other contributing factors.”

In November, Parrott said additional thorough examinations are routine when dealing with a death of a young person and when there are no signs of foul play.

Maddula was last seen early Sept. 22 at an off-campus party where witnesses reported he was drinking. His body was found days later in the Wilmette Harbor after a campus-wide search effort.

Family spokesperson Padma Sonti declined to release any information regarding the toxicology report. She said the family has hired an attorney.

“I think it’s just common sense,” Sonti said Thursday. “They just need someone to make sure all the T’s are crossed and I’s are dotted.”

Sonti said because the family lives in a different state, hiring an attorney closer to campus made sense. The Maddulas have hired Timothy Tomasik of the Clifford Law Offices of Chicago.

Tomasik is no stranger to cases touching the NU community. He represented the Sunshine family after the alcohol-related death of their son, freshman Matthew Sunshine, in 2008.

In the multimillion dollar settlement in 2010, NU took no liability in Sunshine’s death but implemented provisions to rein in drinking on and around campus, such as the Red Watch Band training program.

— Cat Zakrzewski