What happened to Richard Okorogheye?

What happened to Richard Okorogheye?

POLICE have confirmed a body found in Epping Forest is that of missing student Richard Okorogheye following a post-mortem examination.
The 19-year-old – described by his mum as her “treasure” – had been missing since leaving his family home in west London on the evening of March 22.
7Richard Okorogheye, 19, disappeared from his home in West LondonCredit: METWho was Richard Okorogheye? 
Richard Okorogheye was a 19-year-old student who attended Oxford Brookes University.
He told his mum Evidence Joel that he was “struggling to cope” with lockdown after shielding throughout the coronavirus pandemic due to a sickle cell disease.
As someone with sickle cell disease, the teen would only leave the house to go to hospital for regular blood transfusions for his condition.
Sickle cell disease – in which red blood cells are not shaped as they should be – is a serious and lifelong health condition
Police have confirmed Richard’s identity after a post-mortem was carried out on the body found in Epping Forest.
The teenager’s family have been informed and are being supported by specialist officers.
His death is being treated as unexplained and police do not currently believe there was any third-party involvement.
7Last CCTV image of Richard Okorogheye, 19, who has been missing since leaving his home in Ladbroke Grove, Kensington, on the evening of Monday, March 22Credit: RexWhen did Richard Okorogheye go missing? 
The teen said he was going out on Monday, March 22, 2021, and was last seen walking in Kensington, West London, at around 8.40pm.
His mother returned home from a nursing shift at around 9pm and assumed her son was in his room.
It was only when she knocked on his door after cooking his favourite dinner that she realised something was wrong.
After a locksmith helped her gain entry to the bedroom, she found Richard missing with his wallet, bus pass and bank card left behind.
None of Richard’s friends saw him that night and they hadn’t seen the teen since he disappeared.
7Met Police divers in Epping Forest on Good Friday as the investigation into missing Richard Okorogheye continuesCredit: PAWhere was Richard Okorogheye last seen?
He was last seen on CCTV in Loughton, Essex, in the early hours of Tuesday March 23, walking towards Epping Forest.
It was thought the last footage of Richard was from the 23 bus southbound near his home.
CCTV shows he was wearing black clothes and carrying a black satchel bag with a white Adidas logo, worn across his lower back.
Officers then said he was seen in the area of Epping Forest hours later – and before he was reported missing.
Cops established that Richard took a taxi to Loughton in Essex.
He was then captured on CCTV walking alone along Smarts Lane, Loughton towards Epping Forest at 12.39am on Tuesday morning.
There were no further confirmed sightings. Police said the teen’s phone has not been in use since his disappearance.
The Met said detectives were working around the clock to trace his next steps after this sighting and had begun searches in and around the forest as well as carrying out door-to-door enquiries.
They were also working alongside specialist search teams and colleagues from Essex Police.
Cops and tracker dogs scoured the woodland area for five days, but said they had found “nothing of relevance”.
Police divers were seen searching a waterway in the woodland in north-east London.
Tragically, a body was found in the forest on Easter Monday.
7Has Richard been found?
Richard Okorogheye’s mother was reportedly told the body found by police in an Epping Forest pond on Monday, April 5, matches her son’s description.
On Wednesday, April 7, police confirmed the body is Richard’s following a postmortem.
The cause of Richard’s death is pending as further investigations are carried out, but the postmortem found no evidence of physical trauma or assault.
Detective Superintendent Danny Gosling, Head of the Met’s Central West Public Protection Unit, said: “My deepest sympathies go out to Richard’s family at this incredibly difficult time.
“This was not the outcome that any of us had hoped for and we will ensure that his grieving family are well-supported by specially trained officers.
“I would like to extend my thanks to the many officers, staff and members of the public who have each played a part in the extensive effort to locate Richard.”
The police investigation into the circumstances of his death is ongoing.
On Monday, April 5, the Met Police said they were told by Essex Police the body of a man was found in a pond in the woodland.
Richard’s mother, Evidence Joel, said police had informed her at the time “the description matches his”.
She told the MyLondon website: “Oh God, they said the description matches his, but we’ll go in tomorrow [Tuesday] to find out.”
Speaking to reporters outside Scotland Yard on Tuesday, April 6, Metropolitan Police Det Supt Danny Gosling said: “Our specially trained officers remain with the family as they have done throughout this inquiry.”
7Richard had been shielding due to a cell diseaseMr Gosling said police remain in the area to carry out further searches as they try to piece together what happened to Richard.
“This is an extensive inquiry, and we are working tirelessly to establish the full circumstances.
“This includes forensic medical and specialist inquiries, which all take time to complete,” he added.
What has Richard Okorogheye’s family said?
His mother feared her student son had become depressed during lockdown as he only left the house for regular blood transfusions at hospital.
She was also worried that he had met someone through Playstation 5 who “gained his trust”.
7Richard’s mum Evidence Joel has spoken of her ‘hell’ as the search for her son continuesCredit: Channel 4 NewsEvidence Joel told Sky News that she was “shocked” at being told that Richard had been seen on CCTV footage walking in Loughton, Essex – miles away from their home in Ladbroke Grove, West London.
She added: “I’m shocked he even knows where Loughton is, as I don’t even know where that place is.
“I think he went to meet somebody. Definitely. Richard cannot go there. Especially at that time in the morning… someone was waiting for Richard.”
When asked if he had perhaps met someone online, Evidence said “most definitely” and said previously that Richard would often be playing on his PlayStation.
She said he heard him laughing and that he was “very happy” when he played his games.
7Police have also been searching Epping Forest on horsebackShe continued: “Definitely, he was talking to someone. Someone that he trusted and was fond of. Maybe the person gave him confidence.
Speaking to The Guardian, Evidence Joel said that waiting for information on her son’s whereabouts has been “hell”.
She told the paper: “Every day is a nightmare for me now.
“I feel completely helpless. Helpless, and also, sorry to use this word, but I feel useless. Because I want to go out there, to do something to look for him, search for him, anything.
The new footage showed Richard walking through the streets of Loughton, Essex”But I can’t”, she said of needing to remain at home in case he makes contact.
She had previously said: “It’s my baby, it’s my treasure. He’s my oxygen, he’s my crown. He’s everything to me, he’s the reason why I live, the reason I exist.
“Right now I’m empty, there is nothing to look forward to. He’s taken my breath away from me.”
His mum said the current cold weather, which could cause Richard substantial pain, was a major concern.
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She said: “We know he didn’t take a jacket when he went out. That’s really worrying.”
Evidence added she had no idea as to what could have prompted Mr Okorogheye’s disappearance, and called on his online community of friends to contact police if they have any information.
She also issued a message to her son, telling him: “Everybody misses you. And we love you very much. We want you home. Please come home.”
Mum of missing teen Richard Okorogheye fears he met someone online playing PS5

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