Police focus on Essex after missing student Richard Okorogheye is sighted

Police investigating the disappearance of student Richard Okorogheye are conducting searches in Essex after a new confirmed sighting last placed him in the area.

Die Metropolitaanse polisie have released CCTV images of the 19-year-old in Loughton in the early hours of Tuesday 23 Maart.

Okorogheye, a student at Oxford Brookes University, left his family home in the Ladbroke Grove area of west Londen on the evening of Monday 22 Maart, and was reported missing two days later.

After initial inquiries, he was identified as having left his home address and heading in the direction of Ladbroke Grove at about 8.30pm.

In a previously confirmed sighting on Monday 22 Maart, Okorogheye was seen boarding the 23 bus southbound in Ladbroke Grove at 8.44pm.

Police said further inquiries had established that he then took a taxi from the W2 area of London to a residential street in Loughton, Essex. He was captured on CCTV walking alone on Smarts Lane towards Epping Forest at 12.39am on Tuesday 23 Maart.

The Met said detectives were working round the clock to trace his next steps after this sighting and had begun searches in and around the forest as well as carrying out door-to-door enquiries. They were also working alongside specialist search teams and colleagues from Essex polisie.

Okorogheye’s mother, Evidence Joel, previously said that 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.

DCI Nicki Beecher, from the Met’s area west public protection unit, gesê: “It has now been nine days since Richard was last seen in person and we remain as committed as ever to locating him and bringing him home to his family.”

Beecher added: “I would once again like to renew our appeal to the public for any information which may assist with our inquiries. If you may have seen Richard – particularly in the Loughton area – or have any information at all, please contact police.”

Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101 quoting 21MIS008134.

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