Body in the lake in Epping Forest confirmed as 19-year-old student Richard Okorogheye and his death treated as ‘unexplained’

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Enterprise News and Pictures 6/4/21 Pic shows: Richard Okorogheye, 19, who has been missing since leaving his home in Ladbroke Grove, Kensington, on the evening of Monday, March 22nd 2021. On Bank Holiday Monday afternoon Essex Police informed the Met Police that the body of a man had been found in a pond in Epping Forest. Enquiries are underway to identify the body. The Met said Richard’s family are being supported by specially trained officers and kept updated with developments. It is Richard is known to have travelled by bus in west London before taking a taxi to Loughton where he was last seen, on CCTV, in the early hours of Tuesday, March 23rd. Initial enquiries identified Richard leaving his home and heading in the direction of Ladbroke Grove, W10 on 22 March at around 8.30pm He was then seen boarding a 23 bus in Ladbroke Grove, heading southbound at 8.44pm. CCTV footage showed he was wearing all black and had a black satchel bag with a white Adidas logo, worn across his lower back. As a result of that sighting, officers from across the Met, supported by Essex Police, had been carrying out searches in nearby Epping Forest. Superintendent Danny Gosling, who is leading the investigation, said: "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. "Our officers, with the assistance from specialist search teams, dogs and horses, and colleagues from Essex Police, have been carrying out extensive searches in Epping Forest since 19-year-old Richard was last seen on CCTV in the area 15 days ago. "The post mortem will take place in due course and we await formal identification. See story...

The body found in a lake in Epping Forest on Bank Holiday Monday has been confirmed tonight to be 19-year-old student Richard Okorogheye.

His death is being treated as unexplained and police at this stage do not believe that there was any third-party involvement. A forensic post mortem took place earlier today with the cause of death pending as further investigations are carried out, however it found no evidence of physical trauma or assault.

Richard went missing from his home in Ladbroke Grove on Monday, March 22 and was reported missing on Wednesday, March 24.

His next of kin have been informed and are being supported by specialist officers.

Scotland Yard said that as a matter of routine, as Richard had been reported missing prior to the discovery of his body, a referral has been made to the Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards (DPS) and to the Independent Office for Police Conduct.

 

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.”

The investigation into the circumstances of Richard’s death is ongoing.

Specialist search teams remain in parts of Epping Forest, Loughton, as they continue to carry out further searches as part of the investigation.

Timeline of Richard’s disappearance: 

Oxford Brookes student Richard, who had sickle cell disease, left home and headed in the direction of Ladbroke Grove in west London on March 22 at approximately 8.30pm. Richard was then seen boarding a number 23 bus heading southbound at 8.44pm. He then took a taxi from west London to a residential street in Loughton, Essex where he was captured on CCTV walking alone on Smarts Lane, Loughton, towards the area of Nursery Road and Epping Forest at 12.39am on Tuesday, March 23.

Richard Okorogheye’s mother, Evidence Joel, had said her son had been “struggling to cope” with his business and IT degree and because of his sickle cell disease, would only leave home to go to hospital for regular blood transfusions.

She said police did not act quickly enough after he was reported missing.

Speaking last week after he had been missing for eight days, Evidence said: “I was told that Richard was an adult. He can make his decisions. He can go out and come back whenever he feels like. I need help. I need them to look for him for me.”

Police said they were “working around the clock to find him.”

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