Met Police Confirm Body Found Was That Of Richard Okorogheye
The Metropolitan police have confirmed the body found in Epping Forest is that of missing student Richard Okorogheye.
Police investigating the situation uncovered the body of a man in a lake on April 5, but did not immediately confirm whether it belonged to the teenager.
Today, April 7, police confirmed the body is that of Richard. His death is being treated as unexplained, and police do not believe anyone else was involved. A post-mortem found no evidence of physical trauma or assault, BBC News reports.
At the time, Metropolitan Police Detective Superintendent Danny Gosling commented:
Yesterday afternoon we were informed by colleagues from Essex Police that a body had been found in a lake in the Epping Forest area. Whilst we wait for formal identification, we have spoken to Richard’s family to update them with this latest development.
Our specially trained officers remain with the family as they have done throughout this inquiry.
Following the discovery of Richard’s body, investigators and police dogs continued to search Epping Forest in the hopes they would find clues regarding the events leading up to the death of the 19-year-old.
Today, 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.
Richard’s next of kin have been informed and are being supported by specialist officers.
Gosling said that the searches came as Richard was last seen on CCTV in the area and assured that officers were ‘working tirelessly to establish the full circumstances’, with the investigation including ‘forensic medical and specialist inquiries’.
Richard attended Oxford Brookes and his mother, Evidence Joel, previously said that her son had discussed how he was ‘struggling to cope’ with university, The Independent reports.
During the coronavirus pandemic, Richard had to remain extra vigilant due to his sickle cell disease. He shielded during the outbreak and only left the house to go to hospital for regular blood transfusions for his condition, his mother explained.
Both Richard’s mother and his father, Newton Okorogheye, have criticised the way the Met police handled the case, claiming that officers did not initially take their concerns seriously.
Evidence Joel said that in response to her reports that her son was missing, a police officer said: ‘if you can’t find your son, how do you expect police officers to find your son for you?’
The mother stressed that she was ‘expecting assurance’ from officers, and said Richard was not considered ‘high risk’ until he had been missing for almost a week.
Officers previously explained that Richard’s phone had not been in use since his disappearance, and that he did not take his medication or any money when he left home.
If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677.