Body found in Epping Forest has been identified as the missing 19-year-old Richard Okorogheye

A body found in a pond in Epping Forest has been identified as the missing 19-year-old Richard Okorogheye.

Richard, who was a student at Oxford Brookes University, went missing from his home in Ladbroke Grove on Monday, March 22.

His death is being treated as unexplained and police do not believe, at this stage, that there was any third-party involvement.

A forensic post mortem took place earlier today.

Richard Okorogheye

The cause of death is pending whilst further investigations are carried out but there is no evidence of physical trauma or assault.

As a matter of routine, as Richard had been reported missing prior to the discovery of his body, a referral has been made to the Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards (DPS) and to the Independent Office for Police Conduct.

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.”

Richard’s mother previously said her son was “struggling to cope” after shielding since March 2020 due to his sickle cell disease.

His family have criticised the police during the investigation after they claimed that officers had initially been unwilling to act on his disappearance.

Richard, who had started his first year of a Business and IT degree, was caught on CCTV leaving his home and heading in the direction of Ladbroke Grove at around 8.30pm on March 22.

In a previously confirmed sighting, Richard was seen boarding the 23 bus southbound in Ladbroke Grove at 8.44pm.

Further enquires have established that Richard then took a taxi journey to a residential street in Loughton, Essex.

He was captured on CCTV walking alone on Smarts Lane, Loughton, towards the area of Nursery Road and Epping Forest at 12.39am on Tuesday, March 23.

Friends had used social media to spread appeals to help trace the teenager that have been shared thousands of times, including by celebrities such as the singer Dua Lipa and the author Bonnie Greer.

Officers, police dogs, and specialist police divers began a search the Essex area and Epping Forest over the weekend and the body of a man was found on Monday, April 5.

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

Timeline:

Initial enquiries identified Richard leaving his home and heading in the direction of Ladbroke Grove, on March 22 at around 8.30pm.

He was then seen boarding the 23 bus in Ladbroke Grove, heading southbound at 8.44pm.

Further enquires have established that Richard then took a taxi journey from West London to a residential street in Loughton, Essex.

He was captured on CCTV walking alone on Smarts Lane, Loughton, towards the area of Nursery Road and Epping Forest at 12.40am on Tuesday, March 23.

This was the last confirmed sighting of Richard.

His family have been informed and are being supported by specialist officers.

 


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