March 19, 2013

09/22/12: Harsha Maddula, 18, Evanston, IL

Harsha Maddula
Harsha Maddula, 18, disappeared on Saturday, September 22, 2012 after attending several parties at Northwestern University.

He was last seen around 11:30 p.m. leaving a house party in the 2000 block of Ridge Avenue in Evanston, Ill with a few friends. When the group arrived at another party just eight minutes later, they realized they had lost Harsha along the way. When they failed to see him by the next evening, they contacted the University Police to report him missing.

His body was found in the Wilmette Harbor on Thursday, September 27, 2012.

* * * *

Full Story:
Northwestern University Student Disappears After Leaving a Party

Eighteeen year old Northwestern University sophomore Harsha Maddula was last seen on Saturday, September 22, 2012 after leaving an party.

The night started out around 10:30 p.m. Friday, September 21 as Harsha and a group of about eight friends partied in a dorm room at Northwestern's Public Affairs Residential College, some reportedly drinking rum and vodka and smoking marijuana.

The group then left and walked to an off-campus party near Garnett Place about 11 p.m., only to leave shortly thereafter.

It is unclear where the group went directly after leaving, but ultimately at least some members of the group met up together at another house party in the 2000 block of Ridge Avenue in Evanston, Ill. According to a sober student tasked with monitoring the door, Harsha entered at about 11 p.m. with three or four friends. He stayed until about 11:30 p.m., then he left again with three or four students on foot.

After arriving at another off-campus party, the group realized they had lost Harsha along the way. The two locations are less than an eight minute walk, so it is unclear how they became separated.

Harsha's friends contacted the University Police around 6:45 p.m. later that day to report him missing.

Search, Investigation, Recovery

According to the Daily Northwester, during the investigation, the university police repeatedly searched Harsha's one-person dormitory room. They found that none of his belongings were missing. They also found nothing in his computer or personal belongings that would indicated a desire to harm himself. Police also reviewed security camera footage from the dorm and checked his electronic key and cell phone [tracking records] and concluded that he had not been in his dorm room since he left Friday night.

The FBI arrived on scene on Tuesday, September 25 as "search parties scoured campus and downtown Evanston." (Daily Northwestern, 09/26/12.) 

While some witnesses reported that Harsha had been drinking and smoking marijuana that night, the door monitor who spoke with Harsha as he left the Ridge Avenue party noted that Harsha seemed coherent, wasn't stumbling, and didn't appear to be drunk. Friends also told the media that Harsha is diabetic and not a heavy drinker.

An article by The Daily Northwestern seems to confirm this. The paper reported that Harsha's aunt, Surekha Maddula, said her nephew took daily medication for diabetes, even though he no longer needed to inject insulin.

Harsha's mother, Dhanalakshmi Maddula, also told the paper that her her son is a quiet boy with only a small group of friends. “He likes to study and he worked so hard to come here," she said.

Authorities tried to piece together where Harsha went after becoming separated from his friends sometime after 11:30 p.m.

Cell phone records show that he called a sophomore named John at 12:10 a.m. According to John, Harsha asked where John was, and John replied that he was still at the party on Ridge Avenue. Harsha said he was “going to see if he could make it over there.” (The Daily Northwestern).

At about 12:35 a.m., another friend called Harsha to ask where he was. This call was the last known contact from Harsha. Harsha replied that he was back in his dorm room, which police found to not be true. Cell phone tracking indicates that Harsha was walking from Ridge Avenue to the Wilmette Harbor at the time of the call. He walked in that direction from approximately 12:15 a.m. to 1:07 a.m., then the signal stopped.

Police were in the process of searching the Wilmette Harbor for clues on Thursday, September 27, 2012 when Harsha Maddula's fully clothed body was discovered in the harbor by fisherman. His wallet, containing $130 and a Northwestern ID card,  and his iPhone were recovered on his body.

A post mortem examination the following day indicated that Maddula died from drowning.  The body had a bruise on the head that was consistent with falling into the harbor and possibly rubbing against a wall, pier support or boat. There was no sign of any blunt force or trauma that would indicate a wrongful death. Toxicology results later indicated that his blood alcohol content was twice the legal limit.

The Cook County medical examiner has classified the manner of death as undetermined. Police believe that the investigation has shown that Maddula's death appears to be accidental with alcohol consumption being a contributing factor. Because Maddula's pants zipper was down when his body was discovered, police theorize that he was attempting to urinate at the water's edge and he fell in.

Evanston police interviewed several witnesses close to Maddula in which a voice stress analyzer was used to detect deception. Police told the media that no deceptive indicators were found.

Police have not been able to recover data from Maddula's water-damaged phone, which was submerged for five days.

Case Details

Name/age: Harsha Maddula, 18
College: Northwestern University
Hometown: New York
Last Seen: 09/22/12, Evanston, Illinois
Physical Description:  5'4", 135 pounds, black hair, Indian descent
Last seen wearing: gray long-sleeved sweater with black and white stitching, gray pants, brown shoes
Recovered: 09/27/12, Wilmette Harbor
Investigating Agency: Northwestern University Police


Goudie, Chuck. (2013, February 27). Mysterious Drownings: The I-Team exposes deadly pattern. Retrieved March 18, 2013 from

Cohen, Marshall. (2012, September 26). Search for missing Northwestern student Harsha Maddula intensifies as new details emerge. The Daily Northwestern. Retrieved March 19, 2013 from

Goudie, Chuck. (2013, February 27). I-Team: New information in drowning death of Northwestern student Harsha Maddula. Retrieved March 19, 2013 from


Mbaz said...

"After arriving at another off-campus party, the group realized they had lost Harsha along the way."

I swear to GOD this portion is similar to so many other cases.

How do friends just "randomly lose" their friends.

Furthermore, two things are blatatly obvious regarding this case.

1) The killers do not drown on site but rather drown at an offsite location and just dump the body. It would be too difficut to drown the bodies on site and would risk exposure. Furthermore, the fact that patrick macneils cause of death was drowning but the eggsacks in his pubic area prove he was dead on land for a certain period of time. Therefore, he was drowned somewhere other than where he was found, then tossed into a river at a later date. This woud also account for the fact that in certain cases, bodies turn up in areas that were previously searched and cleared. It would also make sense for the killers to have a large van with maybe an aparatus(like a tank of water) to drown the victims. This would make it extremely optimal for them as it is mobile and safe. These killers are drowning kids at off site locations all over the country. It wouldnt make sense for them to rent hotels to do it or to rent houses. They must have portable transportation that would not stand out as much as a motor home but would be bigger than a small panal van.

2) Drugs or beautiful women are involved. These both wouldnt surprise me as when one analyzes the case of patrick mcneil, one can blatantly see that he was first drugged and then abducted when he wandered off (As people who are drugged tend to do) Ala matthew besner. The women part is intriguing considering the top suspects in the mcneil case were a couple who were seen driving slowly behind him as he left the bar. Furthermore, in the lacrosse case, the victim was last seen being bought drinks at the bar by a couple. Having a women in the tandem could make it easier to lure men away and also could dampen suspicions that they are up to no good. If someone sees a couple out at night, they are less suspicious than a lone male. The mcneil case was the early stages of the killers which is why they messed up so much. Nowadays they are polished and have nailed down their ritual in hopes to eliminate all of the blunders instituted in the mcneil case. They narrowly evaded the police because it was too expensive to run the partial on the plate. I think they read the news, realized that they needed to be more careful next time, and have now moved on to murdering people in hopes that they will not be seen as murders. In the early stages of their sickness, i dont think they intended to make their muderers totally disguised but rather they learned from their mistakes made in the mcneil case and are now more efficient.

If only their was some way to prove that whatever waterway these bodies are found in is not where they were drowned. If one can figure out how to illustrate that these bodies were drowned elsewhere, the case is blown open and we can start to definitley call them murders. Because lets be realistic here, there is no FREAKING way that these killers have evaded notice for so long and drown people in commong bodies of water. They are obviously drowning at a third party location.

tennessee111 said...

It is very speculative as far as who is murdering because we can not be 100 percent positive of who is being murdered for one thing and who had an accident.

What do we know
We know when Le says that there is no physical evidence of foul play that is is an interpretation. It is assumed injuries were caused while the body was in the water. Other injuries are missed or ignored. Others just are not reported to the public at all. Joe Clark threw his victims in the water after breaking their bones and only after a victim managed to call police did they realize a previous victim had his bone broke. We also know these conclusions about injuries are influenced by the investigators in the first place who often already decided to blame the use of alcohol and the victim themselves.

We know budget priorities also influence these cases and it is more convenient to just assume the victim ran off with a girl,was just drunk and stumbled into the water,or commited suicide;etc.

We know that any investigation done independent of local LE that did the initial investigation reaches some different conclusions about injuries,and even the blood alcohol content. These so called conclusions about accidental death never seem to hold up under scrutiny. That is not saying they were necessarily murdered in every one of those cases either. Of course the center for homicide research would tell you different but they don't investigate. they are used as a propaganda tool to disprove a serial killer.

We also know the best suspects for some cases are LE themselves who have owned the bar, been the last to see a victim and are working at some of these bars as a bouncer part time. They are also working as cab drivers part time. Some of them probably off the book and during busy days and in neighborhoods they are already familiar with as they patrol them in their regular job. They also know how to subdue a victim should they get in a tangle with an athletic type male and find they are in over their head. So they could use various methods such as tasering or put them in a choke hold.

We also know there are about 200 similar incidents in 15 years so to try to place blame on a single group or person makes no sense. The estimates of serial killers is quite high not to mention a lot of unrelated crimes that occur daily.

We know serial killers do work this way. Pat Brown says they do not. There are 2 big problems with this. She says they do not go around the country killing people. For one thing you have to know the stats to begin with and have to assume LE could detect these types of murders to begin with. LE does not even have a good record of detecting serial killers that keep their murders local, yet alone those that travel around the country so it is extremely arrogant to assume they would know what the actual data is or assume they could make a close estimate. If you can not detect a killer that goes around the country killing people ,how can you claim killers don't work that way? You can not. It is a guess with no facts that make a strong argument. There have been killers that go around the country killing and could be a lot more we do not know about.

tennessee111 said...

We also know any thing that is suspicious is not reported at all. This is not a cover up usually as if there was a killer you can not have details widely known and some only the killer themselves may know. The extent of injuries is not always reported. What they find and where they found it is not always reported.

Mbaz said...

Considering the EXTREMELY SLIM drowning statistics regarding people who accidentaly drown with noone around (while not swimming or boating or somthing), every single one of these should be deemed suspicious. All I know is that there is a team of agents working on this case and it would be freaking awesome if they broke it.

Skunky said...

Many are white males but lately (and all along the way of these types of suspicious drownings) there have been quite a few Indian (Asian) males.

Sunil Tripathi being the latest...

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