Update: UK Police confirm body found in Epping Forest lake as missing Nigerian student, Richard Okorogheye
UK Police have confirmed the body found in a lake in Epping Forest as missing Nigerian student, Richard Okorogheye.
The 19-year-old Nigerian student at Oxford Brookes University, who has sickle cell disease, left his family home in the Ladbroke Grove area of west London on the evening of March 22 and was reported missing two days later.
He was last seen on CCTV in Loughton, Essex, in the early hours of Tuesday, March 23, walking towards Epping Forest.
Okorogheye’s mother Evidence Joel described her son as “a treasure” and said he had spoken of “struggling to cope” with university pressures and had been shielding during COVID-19 lockdowns.
She told Sky News of her son: “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.
Officers searching for Mr. Okorogheye found a body in a pond in Epping Forest on Monday evening. Authorities said his family had been informed and were being supported by specially trained officers.
Met police have now confirmed that the body found in the lake in Epping Forest is Richard Okorogheye.
The 19-year-old’s death is being treated as “unexplained”, the Metropolitan Police said, and officers do not believe, at this stage, there was any third-party involvement.
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A post-mortem examination took place on Wednesday and found no evidence of physical trauma or assault.
The Met said the cause of death is pending while further investigations are carried out.
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 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.”
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.”