MISSING RICHARD OKOROGHEYE: Body found in Epping Forest pond - yet to be identified
POLICE have found a body in a pond in Epping Forest that was being searched for missing Richard Okorogheye.
A Met Police spokesman said: "On the afternoon of Monday, April 5, the Met was informed by colleagues from Essex Police that the body of a man had been found in a pond in Epping Forest. "Enquiries are underway to identify the body. "Detectives investigating the disappearance of 19-year-old Richard Okorogheye are aware.
"Richard’s family are being supported by specially trained officers and kept updated with developments.
"Officers remain at the scene and enquiries continue."
The Oxford Brookes University student has not been seen by relatives since he went missing from his home in Ladbroke Grove, Kensington, west London, on the evening of March 22.
There are concerns for his welfare as he suffers from sickle cell disease but did not take any medication with him and needs regular blood transfusions.
He travelled by bus in west London before taking a taxi to Loughton where he was last seen, on CCTV, in the early hours of Tuesday, 23 March.
As a result of that sighting, officers from across the Met, supported by Essex Police, have been carrying out searches in nearby Epping Forest since Thursday.
Initial enquiries identified Richard leaving his home and heading in the direction of Ladbroke Grove, W10 on 22 March at approximately 8.30pm. He was then seen boarding the 23 bus in Ladbroke Grove, heading southbound at 8:44pm.
CCTV footage shows he was wearing all black and had a black satchel bag with a white Adidas logo, worn across his lower back.
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 12:39am on Tuesday, March 23.
There have been no further confirmed sightings and his phone has not been used.
Mr Okorogheye’s mother, Evidence Joel, said police did not initially take report of him missing seriously.
She is “very surprised” he travelled to Loughton as he had “never mentioned such places” and believes someone was waiting for him there.
She said: "Richard cannot just go there, especially at that time in the morning – he went to meet someone. Someone was waiting for Richard.”
Anyone with other information that could assist officers involved in the search should call 101 quoting 21MIS008134.