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Missing Student’s Mum Says Police Told Her ‘We Can’t Find Your Son If You Can’t’

by : Emma Rosemurgey on : 30 Mar 2021 09:32
Missing Student’s Mum Says Police Told Her ‘We Can’t Find Your Son If You Can’t’Met Police/Sky News

The parents of missing teen Richard Okorogheye say they were told, ‘We can’t find your son if you can’t,’ after reporting his disappearance to the Metropolitan Police.

Evidence Joel and Newton Okorogheye told police of their son’s disappearance two days after he failed to come home, after leaving his west London home at around 8.30pm on March 22.

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The 19-year-old, who has sickle cell disease and therefore has been forced to shield throughout the pandemic, told his parents he was going to visit a friend.

It has now been more than a week since Richard has been seen, prompting the Met Police to issue a statement saying they were ‘becoming increasingly concerned’ for the university student’s wellbeing.

However, according his parents, it took six days before police would take his disappearance seriously, despite him being classed as high risk due to his illness.

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Richard’s mother, Evidence Joel, told Sky News:

I told a police officer that my son was missing, please help me find him, and she said, ‘if you can’t find your son, how do you expect police officers to find your son for you?’

I was expecting assurance. My son was missing and it broke my heart.

Met PoliceMet Police

Richard’s mother went on to explain that Richard had been ‘struggling to cope’ with university and shielding throughout the long and gruelling pandemic.

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He told her he was going to meet a friend, however he left without his wallet, jacket and medication, despite having previously only left his home for regular blood transfusions for his condition.

Evidence Joel recalled:

All he said to me was, ‘mummy, I’m going to see my friend.’ I trusted him, I had no doubt. I had no reason to ask further questions.’

Working as a nurse, the mum said her son told her he would see her later, so when she returned home from work she cooked him a meal, expecting him to be up in his room.

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Sky NewsSky News

But, it wasn’t until a locksmith removed the lock on his bedroom door that she discovered he was not in his room, and he had left his wallet and bus pass behind.

His mum said she fears he may have been groomed online while spending so much time alone isolating throughout the pandemic, but said she doesn’t believe Richard would willingly choose not to come home.

‘It’s my baby, it’s my treasure. He’s my oxygen, he’s my crown,’ she said. ‘He’s everything to me, he’s the reason why I live, the reason I exist.’

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A spokesperson for Scotland Yard said: ‘The investigation into the disappearance of Richard Okorogheye remains ongoing – his family are being supported by a dedicated family liaison officer while all available resources are being utilised in the search.’

The Met is now urging anyone with any information to come forward, by calling police on 101 quoting 21MIS008134.

If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]

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Emma Rosemurgey

Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained journalist who started her career by producing The Royal Rosemurgey newspaper in 2004, which kept her family up to date with the goings on of her sleepy north east village. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining Tyla (formerly Pretty 52) in 2017, and progressing on to UNILAD in 2019.

Topics: News, London, Metropolitan Police, missing person, Now, Police

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Sky News
  1. Sky News

    Richard Okorogheye: Missing student has chronic condition and was 'struggling to cope' with shielding, mum says