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Richard Okorogheye: Body found in Epping Forest confirmed as missing teen - death being treated as ‘unexplained’

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 07/04/2021 Barney Davis

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(Video by Press Association)

The Metropolitan Police have confirmed that the body recovered from an Epping Forest pond is that of missing student Richard Okorogheye.

Richard, 19, who suffered sickle cell disease, disappeared from his family home in the Ladbroke Grove area of west London on the evening of March 22. Essex Police said that a man’s body had been found in Epping Forest on Monday.

Formal identification has now taken place and the body has been confirmed as that of 19-year-old Richard Okorogheye.

Richard went missing from his home in Ladbroke Grove on Monday, 22 March. He was reported missing on Wednesday, 24 March.

His family, including Richard’s mother Evidence Joel, have been informed and are being supported by specialist officers, Met Police said.

a man wearing a suit and tie smiling at the camera: A body has been found in the search for missing Richard Okorogheye, police have confirmed © PA A body has been found in the search for missing Richard Okorogheye, police have confirmed

The business and IT undergraduate’s death is being treated as unexplained and police do not believe at this stage that there was any third-party involvement.

The cause of death is pending while further investigations are carried out, however police found no evidence of physical trauma or assault, the force said.

His heartbroken mother was seen laying flowers and breaking down in tears earlier today close to the pond where his body was discovered.

Community nurse Ms Joel, 39, said she had been told the body had matched her son’s description before he was formally identified.

She told the Standard: “We thought Richard would be found or would just come home. But he’s not. My baby will never come home to his mummy again. I can’t even describe the feeling. He was taken away from me too early. The only child I have. It’s devastating and the last thing I thought I’d hear.

a group of people posing for the camera: Police Search For Missing Student Richard OkorogheyeGetty Images © Provided by Evening Standard Police Search For Missing Student Richard OkorogheyeGetty Images

“We didn’t give up hope but the conclusion is not what we expected. The police are coming this morning to speak to me properly but they said the body matches Richard’s description.”

Detective Superintendent Danny Gosling, 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 investigation into the circumstances of Richard’s death is ongoing.

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

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