The body of Richard Okorogheye has been found by police after he went missing over two weeks ago.
Richard Okorogheye, 19, went missing on 22 March. The teenager was last seen leaving the family home in the Ladbroke Grove area. Richard had said he was going to see a friend.
However, when his mother returned home in the evening, Richard could not be found. Richard had left his bus pass and wallet at home.
Following this, an investigation about the disappearance was launched.
The teenager had been leaving the house for regular blood transfusions to treat his Sickle disease and had been shielding during the COVID pandemic. Richard had also been struggling with his university course.
The investigation drew criticism as officers were initially dismissive of the case.
In fact, Richard’s parents Evidence Joel and Newton Okorogheye told Sky News about the reaction to the disappearance:
“I told a police officer that my son was missing, please help me find him, and she said ‘if you can’t find your son, how do you expect police officers to find your son for you?”
“I was expecting assurance. My son was missing and it broke my heart.”
Joel went on to plea for him to return home, and encourage those with information to come forward:
“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.”
A body was found
A body was found in a pond in Epping Forrest on Monday. Many were concerned that it may be Richard. This has now proved to be the case.
Delivering the news, Det Supt Danny Gosling stated:
“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.”
“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 death is currently unexplained. A post-mortem found no evidence of physical trauma or assault. As a result, a further investigation into what happened will continue.
The tragic news about Richard has prompted a number of tributes online. Politicians and musicians have paid their respect.
Labour MP Zarah Sultana wrote:
“Police have confirmed that the body found in Epping Forest on Monday has been formally identified as missing 19-year-old student Richard Okorogheye. Utterly heartbreaking news. My thoughts & prayers are with his family & everyone who knew & loved him. Rest in peace, Richard.”
Rapper Guvna B also sent his condolences:
“Rest in peace Richard Okorogheye. God bless your soul and give strength to all who love you.”
Our thoughts are with Richard Okoroghey’s friends and family.