CRIME
09/27/2012 10:45 am ET

Harsha Maddula Update: Family Offers $25,000 Reward For Missing Northwestern University Student

The family of a missing pre-med student announced a $25,000 reward for tips leading to the 18-year-old who's been missing for five days.

Northwestern University sophomore Harsha Maddula was last seen leaving an off-campus party with friends early Saturday morning. Despite no indication of foul play, Maddula's father believes that his son was kidnapped, according to Fox News.

Maddula's parents and uncles flew into Evanston, Ill. from Long Island on Monday to join the search, which includes campus police and the FBI. On Wednesday, they announced the reward.

Fire departments and the Coast Guard searched a harbor on Lake Michigan, the area that recorded Maddula's last cellphone signal on Sept. 22.

His family shuddered when they learned divers looked underwater for him.

“It’s horrible,” his father, Prasad Maddula, told the Daily Northwestern yesterday. “I was so upset that they were checking in the lake. My hopes are gone.”

The cellphone signal bounced off a tower around 1 a.m., about an hour after he was last seen, WWLS reported.

The late-night trip away from campus surprised his parents who believe that the bookish Harsha eschews carousing.

"I don't know why he would come at 1 a.m. in the morning," his father told WWLS. "That we don't have any idea."

Northwestern officials say Maddula is of Indian descent, about 5-foot-8-inches tall and weighing 149 pounds, with black hair and wearing black-framed glasses. He was wearing a grey long-sleeve sweater, dark grey pants and brown shoes at the time of his disappearance.

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