Richard Okorogheye: Body found in Epping Forest is missing student, police confirm

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A body found in Epping Forest has been formally identified as missing London student Richard Okorogheye, police have said.

The Metropolitan Police said the 19-year-old’s death is being treated as unexplained but officers do not believe there was any third-party involvement “at this stage”.

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

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.”

The home secretary, Priti Patel, said her “thoughts and prayers” were with Mr Okorogheye’s family and that she was in contact with Scotland Yard as inquiries into the 19-year-old’s death continue.

She wrote on Twitter: “I am deeply saddened to hear of the death of Richard Okorogheye.

“My thoughts and prayers go to his family and friends at this incredibly difficult time.
“I am in contact with the Metropolitan Police who continue their inquiries into his tragic death.”

Okorogheye went missing after leaving his family home in the Ladbroke Grove area on the evening on 22 March.

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 last seen on CCTV in Loughton, Essex, walking alone on Smarts Lane towards Epping Forest at 12.39am on Tuesday 23 March.

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

Specialist teams remain in parts of Epping Forest as they continue to carry out further searches.

Okorogheye’s mother, Evidence Joel, previously said 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, Okorogheye would only leave the house to go to hospital for regular blood transfusions for his condition. (Daily Independent/UK)

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