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Update: police confirm body found in Epping forest is missing Nigerian student


The police have on Wednesday, 7 April, confirmed a body found in a forest pond is that of missing teen Richard Okorogheye, 19, who vanished a fortnight ago.

The Oxford Brookes student disappeared after telling his mum he was “struggling to cope” with the lockdown.

On Monday, police said the body of a man had been found in a pond in Epping Forest, Essex.

Tonight, the Met confirmed Richard’s identity after a post-mortem.

The tragic teenager’s family have been informed and are being supported by specialist officers.

Richard’s death is being treated as unexplained and police do not currently think anyone else was involved.

The cause of Richard’s death is pending as further investigations are carried out, but the postmortem found no evidence of physical trauma or assault.

Richard’s mum sobbed earlier as she told the Evening Standard: “My baby will never come home to his mummy again.”

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.

The police investigation into the circumstances of his death is ongoing.

Richard was last captured on CCTV walking in the direction of the forest in the early hours of March 23.

The 19-year-old student, who has sickle cell disease, left his home in Ladbroke Grove, West London on March 22. He was seen walking in Kensington at around 8.40 pm before boarding the 23 bus southbound.

Police said he travelled on a bus through the capital before taking a taxi to Loughton, Essex.

He was then seen on CCTV walking alone along Smarts Lane towards Epping Forest at 12.39 am.

Police search officers, dog units, and specialist police divers scoured the area for five days.

Tragically, a body was found in the forest on Easter Monday.

Richard’s mum Evidence Joel, 39, wept as she told of her devastation today.

“We thought Richard would be found or would just come home, she said.

“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.”

Richard had been shielding due to a sickle cell disease since the pandemic took hold last year.

He would only leave the house to go to hospital for regular blood transfusions for his condition.

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