The mother of the missing student Richard Okorogheye has spoken of her devastation after being told by police that a body found in Epping Forest matched her son’s description.
Okorogheye, 19, has not been seen since leaving the home he shared with his mother, Evidence Joel, in Ladbroke Grove, wes Londen, on the evening of 22 Maart.
The student was captured on CCTV walking near Epping Forest in the early hours of 23 Maart. Essex police said on Monday that a body had been found in the forest.
Joel, a 39-year-old community nurse, was told that the description matched that of the first-year business and IT undergraduate at Oxford Brookes University, who had been shielding throughout the pandemic because he suffered from sickle cell disease and left home only to attend hospital appointments.
She told the Evening Standard newspaper: “We thought Richard would be found, or would just come home. But he’s not. My baby will never come home to his mummy again. 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.”
Joel previously told the Guardian she had no idea why her son had travelled to Epping Forest, or if he knew anybody in that area. He was a regular PlayStation 5 gamer, and she had appealed to his online friends to contact the police if they had any information.
Police have established that Okorogheye took a bus and then a taxi from west London to a residential street in Loughton, then was seen on CCTV walking towards Epping Forest at 12.39am on Tuesday 23 Maart.
His mother told the Standard: “Richard is my moon and sun. He is the reason I wake up each morning and breathe. I worship the ground he walks on.”
She thanked all those who had shared appeals to find her son, saying she had been “overwhelmed” by the support.
In 'n verklaring, Det Supt Danny Gosling of the Metropolitaanse polisie, who is leading the investigation, gesê: “Yesterday afternoon we were informed by colleagues from Essex police that a body had been found in a lake in Epping Forest.
“While we wait for formal identification, we have spoken to Richard Okorogheye’s family to update them with this latest development. Our specially trained officers continue to support them as they have done throughout.”
Hy het bygevoeg: “The postmortem will take place in due course and we await formal identification.
‘This is an extensive inquiry and we are working tirelessly to establish the full circumstances. The forensic, medical and specialist inquiries are ongoing. As part of our investigation we remain in the area to carry out further searches.”
Police continue to urge anyone with any information to come forward.
“I understand there are a number of questions and we are doing all we can to answer them," hy het gesê.
Police officers and specialist search teams and dogs had been carrying out extensive searches since Okorogheye was last seen on CCTV. His phone had not been used since his disappearance.