Richard Okorogheye: Body found in Epping Forest in search for missing student

Police searching for missing 19-year-old student Richard Okorogheye have said a body has been found in Epping Forest.

Richard Okorogheye, alongside a screen grab of CCTV footage (bottom left) and police divers in Epping Forest (top left). Photos: PA and Met Police

The Metropolitan Police said they were informed by Essex Police that the body of a man was found in a pond in the woodland.

Inquiries are under way to identify the body.

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Scotland Yard added that detectives investigating Mr Okorogheye’s disappearance are aware and his family are being supported by specially trained officers.

Inquiries continue and officers remain at the scene for the fifth day.

Mr Okorogheye, who has sickle cell disease, left his family home in the Ladbroke Grove area of west London on the evening of March 22, and was reported missing two days later.

He was last seen on CCTV in Loughton, Essex, in the early hours of Tuesday March 23, walking towards Epping Forest.

Police divers had previously been seen in a body of water in the woodland.

Initial police inquiries identified Mr Okorogheye leaving his home address and heading in the direction of Ladbroke Grove at around 8.30pm.

CCTV footage shows he was wearing all black and had a black satchel bag with a white Adidas logo, worn across his lower back.

Police said further inquiries have established that he then took a taxi journey from the W2 area of London to a residential street in Loughton.

He was captured on CCTV walking alone on Smarts Lane, Loughton, towards Epping Forest at 12.39am on Tuesday March 23.

The force previously said Mr Okorogheye’s phone has not been in use since his disappearance.

‘Every day a nightmare’

Speaking to The Guardian, Mr Okorogheye’s mother, Evidence Joel, said 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.”

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

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