EVANSTON, Ill. (CBSNewYork/AP) — After a months-long investigation, police said they believe alcohol played a role in the death of a Northwestern University student from Long Island whose body was found in a harbor near the school’s suburban Chicago campus.

Evanston police said tests showed 18-year-old Harsha Maddula’s blood-alcohol content was one and a half times the legal limit. They determined his death was accidental.

The engineering student from New Hyde Park was last seen on Sept. 22 leaving a party where authorities say he was observed drinking alcohol.

His body was recovered five days later in Wilmette Harbor. Police believe he might have lost his balance on a pier and fallen into the water.

University Vice President for student affairs Patricia Telles-Irvin expressed her condolences Tuesday and reminded students of
the college’s substance abuse programs.

“We are saddened by the fact that alcohol may have been a factor in Harsha’s death,” Telles-Irvin said in a statement posted on the university’s website. “This should be a time for all of us to learn from the most difficult of losses, to reflect on what each of us can do to reduce harmful behavior and to take care of each other.”

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. Friends who knew him said he loved soccer, music and science.

He worked summers in his family owned pharmacy.

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