NEW HYDE PARK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Family and friends are saying goodbye to a college student from Long Island who drowned in suburban Chicago.
The wake and funeral for Northwestern University sophomore Harsha Maddula is being held Monday in Garden City Park.
WCBS 880 Long Island Bureau Chief Mike Xirinachs reports
“We’re all young and he was young too so I mean, it’s really a shock to happen so early but I mean everyone is sort of sticking together. I mean, this happened to a community, not a family,” Maddula’s longtime friend Rashan Ramkeesoon told WCBS 880 Long Island Bureau Chief Mike Xirinachs.
“He was a nice kid. Such a nice kid. He has a helping hand all the time,” a family friend told Xirinachs.
A fisherman found the 18-year-old’s body Thursday night in Wilmette Harbor, a few miles north of Evanston, six days after he disappeared after leaving an off-campus party. U.S. Coast Guard and Wilmette firefighters recovered the body.
Autopsy results released Friday showed that Maddula had drowned, but the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office said the manner of his death was undetermined because there was not enough information to rule it an accident, a homicide or a suicide.
Wilmette police said there was no trauma to Maddula’s body, no signs of a struggle and nothing to indicate foul play. Searchers looked for Maddula on foot, with boats, a helicopter, sonar, dogs and divers, Wilmette police said.
Loved ones said the mystery surrounding Maddula’s death only sharpens the pain.
“The worse part is there’s no answers to what happened, how this happened,” said friend Akshay Veloor.
Maddula graduated from the top of his class at New Hyde Park Senior High and was determined to become a doctor. He was also a prolific writer.
“He always wanted to help people. He was very studious. He’d try not to get himself in trouble. I don’t know how this happened to him, he was a very good kid. It’s really tragic that this had to happen, especially to someone so good,” Ramkeesoon told Xirinachs.
Maddula’s friends told CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan that they did not believe his death was accidental.
“He’s not the type of guy who would do this to himself. So it should be thoroughly investigated, reports say accidental drowning which I think are bogus,” said Saju Samuel.
Investigators are still trying to determine why he ended up two miles north of the party and whether he was alone or had left the party with friends. His wallet, student ID card and cell phone were still in his pocket when his body was found.
The official cause of Maddula’s death is undetermined and pending a toxicology test.
Visitation is Monday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. followed by the funeral Monday afternoon at 1 p.m.
(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)