Police confirm body found in Epping Forest as missing teenager Richard Okorogheye

A body found in an Essex lake has been confirmed as 19-year-old Richard Okorogheye.

The investigation into the circumstances of Richard Okorogheye's death is ongoing.

The Oxford Brookes student, who had sickle cell disease, went missing from his home in Ladbroke Grove on March 22.

On Monday (April 5) the body of a man had been found in a lake in Epping Forest, which has since been confirmed as 19-year-old Richard Okorogheye.

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Richard’s family have been informed and are being supported by specialist officers, the Met Police has said.

Specialist search teams remain in parts of Epping Forest, as they continue to carry out further searches as part of the investigation.

‘Unexplained’

The Met Police said the death is being treated as unexplained but officers do not believe there was any third-party involvement “at this stage”.

A post mortem took place on Wednesday (April 7) and found no evidence of physical trauma or assault.

A Metropolitan Police officer stands at the scene at the Wake Valley pond in Epping Forest.

The force said the cause of death is pending while further investigations are carried out.

‘Deepest sympathies’

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.”

‘Deeply saddened’

Home Secretary Priti Patel said her “thoughts and prayers” were with the family of Richard Okorogheye and that she was in contact with Scotland Yard as inquiries into the 19-year-old’s death continue.

She wrote on Twitter: “I am deeply saddened to hear of the death of Richard Okorogheye.

“My thoughts and prayers go to his family and friends at this incredibly difficult time.

“I am in contact with the Metropolitan Police who continue their inquiries into his tragic death.”

‘Struggling to cope’

Mr Okorogheye was an Oxford Brooke university student who lived at his family home in west London.

As someone with sickle cell disease, Mr Okorogheye would only leave the house to go to hospital for regular blood transfusions for his condition.

Richard’s disappearance happened before his mum, Evidence Joel, returned home from a nursing shift at around 9pm on March 22.

She had previously said her son had spoken of “struggling to cope” with university pressures and had been shielding during the Covid-19 lockdown.