Richard Okorogheye latest – Body ‘matches missing student’s description’ says heartbroken mum after Epping Forest find

THE mother of missing student Richard Okorogheye has revealed a body found in Epping Forest “matches Richard’s description”.

Community nurse Evidence Joel, 39, said: “The police are coming this morning to speak to me properly but they said the body matches Richard’s description.”

Richard, 19, disappeared two weeks ago after taking a taxi to Epping Forest having told his mum he was “struggling to cope” with lockdown.

The body of a man was found in a pond in Epping Forest, the Met was informed by Essex Police yesterday afternoon.

Ms Joel today spoke of her agony after police announced they had found a body in the search for Richard.

She told the Evening Standard: “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. I can’t even describe the feeling.

Joel told of her agony today after police announced they had found a body in the search for Richard.

She told the Evening Standard: “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. I can’t even describe the feeling.

“He was taken away from me too early.”

Ms Joel added: “We didn’t give up hope but the conclusion is not what we expected.

“The police are coming this morning to speak to me properly but they said the body matches Richard’s description.”

Follow our live blog below for the latest Richard Okorogheye updates…

  • RECAP: EVERYTHING WE KNOW SO FAR

    • A body has been found in a lake in Epping Forest. This has not been confirmed to be that of Richard Okorogheye but his mum today said officers had informed her it matched her son’s description.
    • Police have confirmed that identification will take place this afternoon with a post mortem expected later this week.
    • Richard’s mum Evidence Joel spoke of her agony today, paying tribute to her “moon and sun” in an interview with the Evening Standard.
  • MET URGE PUBLIC TO HELP INVESTIGATION

    Detective Superintendent Gosling continued: “I would like to thank the public for supporting our search for Richard by sharing our appeals, checking door bell footage, dash cam footage and passing on any information no matter how small.

    “I continue to urge the public to carry on and support us in our investigation.

    “Lastly I’d like to sincerely thank the public for their support and while I understand there are a number of questions, we are doing everything we can to try and find the answers to them.”

  • ‘EXTENSIVE SEARCHES’ CONTINUE

    Scotland Yard have just issued an updated statement.

    Detective Superintendent Danny Gosling said “Our officers with the assistance of specialist search teams dogs and police 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 two weeks ago.

    “The post-mortem examination will take place shortly and we’re also awaiting formal identification.

    “This is an extensive enquiry and we are working tirelessly to establish the full circumstances. This includes forensic, medical and specialist enquiries which all take time to complete.”

  • POLICE LATEST

    There are no further updates from the Met Police just yet.

    Their latest statement reads: “Richard’s family are being supported by specially trained officers and kept updated with developments.

    “Officers remain at the scene and inquiries continue.”

  • MUM HAS ‘NO IDEA’ WHY RICHARD WOULD BE IN ESSEX

    Ms Joel had previously said she had no idea why he would be in the area and doesn’t have any friends or family there. 

    According to the Evening Standard, the formal identification of the body found last night is set to take place this afternoon with a post mortem to expected later this week. 

  • LAST SIGHTING

    Mr Okorogheye was last seen on CCTV in Loughton, Essex, in the early hours of Tuesday March 23, walking towards Epping Forest.

    Initial police inquiries identified Mr Okorogheye leaving his home address and heading in the direction of Ladbroke Grove at around 8.30pm.

    CCTV footage shows he was wearing all black and had a black satchel bag with a white Adidas logo, worn across his lower back.

  • RICHARD ‘TOOK TAXI TO ESSEX’

    Cops have established that Richard took a taxi to Loughton in Essex.

    He was then captured on CCTV walking alone along Smarts Lane, Loughton towards Epping Forest at 12.39am on Tuesday morning.

  • ‘GAINED HIS TRUST’

    Ms Joel had previously said she feared he met someone through Playstation 5 who “gained his trust”.

    When asked by Sky News if he had perhaps met someone online, Evidence said “most definitely” and said previously that Richard would often be playing on his Playstation.

    She said he heard him laughing and that he was “very happy” when he played his games.

    She continued: “Definitely, he was talking to someone. Someone that he trusted and was fond of. Maybe the person gave him confidence.”

  • POND CORDONED OFF

    Police have cordoned off a pond in Epping Forest where a body was found in the search for Richard Okorogheye.

    Cops remain at the scene at the Wake Valley pond.

  • DETECTIVES ‘KEEPING OPEN MIND’

    Detectives are keeping an open mind with regards to the incident, according to the Evening Standard.

    . A Met spokesman said: “Richard’s family are being supported by specially trained officers and kept updated with developments.

    “Officers remain at the scene and inquiries continue.”

  • MUM’S TRIBUTE

    Paying tribute to her son this morning, Ms Joel said: “Richard is my moon and sun. He is the reason I wake up each morning and breathe.

    “I worship the ground he walks on.

    “I was surprised to hear he was seen in Loughton and Epping Forest. As far as I know, he didn’t have any friends in that area. All his friends are down here.”

  • BODY ‘MATCHES RICHARD’S DESCRIPTION’, MUM CONFIRMS

    Richard Okorogheye’s mum has confirmed that she’s been told “the body matches Richard’s description”.

    Community nurse Ms Joel, 39, added: “The police are coming this morning to speak to me properly but they said the body matches Richard’s description.”

  • ‘NOT WHAT WE EXPECTED’

    Ms Joel added: “We didn’t give up hope but the conclusion is not what we expected.

    “The police are coming this morning to speak to me properly but they said the body matches Richard’s description.”

  • MUM’S AGONY

    Evidence Joel told of her agony today after police announced they had found a body in the search for Richard.

    She told the Evening Standard: “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. I can’t even describe the feeling.

    “He was taken away from me too early.”

  • FEARS OVER CHILDREN’S SAFETY AS LOCKDOWN LIFTS

    Kate Garraway has revealed she’s got “fears” over her children’s safety.

    The GMB presenter was discussing the worry she feels after police found a body in the hunt for Richard Okorogheye.

    Kate said on the ITV breakfast show: “It is a challenge for many parents because they’ve had their children at home and suddenly to let them back out again, it’s a nerve-wracking time.

    “I was talking to mums of teenagers yesterday. We’ve had so many different spectres throughout this – awful attacks, sexual assaults – and suddenly you’re having debates about increasing amounts of freedom, which of course they’re desperate for, and me to have.

    “They have to learn to be good young adults.”

  • ‘HE WAS A HAPPY CHILD’

    Ms Joel also said that Richard was a “happy child”, and she could not think of a reason why he would disappear.

    She told the Guardian: “He was a happy child.

    “I’ve looked back, reflected back, but there’s nothing to obviously show that Richard was unhappy.”

  • RICHARD ‘DIDN’T TAKE A JACKET’

    Evidence Joel said that Richard “didn’t take a jacket” when he left the house, which is “extremely worrying” given his health condition.

    She told the Guardian: “Richard and I have a great relationship.

    “There’s no obvious clue or agitation or anything that could have led to what happened.”

  • NONE OF RICHARD’S FRIENDS SAW HIM THAT NIGHT

    None of Richard’s friends saw him that night or any night since he disappeared.

    Mum Evidence Joel previously said she believes he is being “held against his will” as he didn’t even take a jacket or his vital medication.

  • MUM RETURNED FROM SHIFT TO FIND RICHARD HAD GONE

    Mum Evidence Joel had returned home from a nursing shift and assumed her son was in his room.

    It was only when she knocked on his door after cooking his favourite dinner that she realised something was wrong.

    After a locksmith helped her gain entry to the bedroom, she found Richard missing with his wallet, bus pass and bank card left behind.

  • FIND RICHARD

  • MEGHAN’S PAL SHARES APPEAL

    Meghan Markle’s pal Omid Scobie has shared an appeal for Richard.

    The writer, who helped pen biography Finding Freedom about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, said he “can’t imagine” what Richard Okorogheye’s family must be going through.

    Omid joined the appeal for information, tweeting: “I can’t imagine what his mother and family must be going through right now.

    “If you know anything, call 101 and quote 21MIS008134.”

    Credit: TWITTER
  • COPS SCOURED ESSEX

    Officers said Richard was seen in the area of Epping Forest before he was reported missing.

    Cop established that Richard took a taxi to Loughton in Essex.

    Police have been searching Epping Forest for five days.

    Credit: Met Police
  • ‘MUMMY, I’M GOING TO SEE MY FRIEND’

    Evidence Joel previously told Sky News: “All he said to me was, ‘Mummy, I’m going to see my friend’.

    “I trusted him, I had no doubt or no reason to ask him further questions.

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

    “Right now I’m empty, there is nothing to look forward to. He’s taken my breath away from me.”

  • AUTHOR’S TRIBUTE

    Philip Pullman has paid tribute to Richard Okorogheye after a body was found in Epping Forest.

    The Northern Lights author wrote: “I was shocked and sad to hear of the death of Richard Okorogheye, an Oxford Brookes student.

    “I feel desperately sorry for his mother, whose anguished waiting for news of him has ended like this.”

  • CHANCELLOR APPEALS TO UNIVERSITY

    The Vice- Chancellor of Oxford Brookes University, where Richard was a student, has appealed to students to help find him.

    Professor Alistair Fitt said the university was “concerned for Richard’s welfare and have been working with the police in support of their enquiries over the last few days.”

    They added: “We encourage anyone who may have seen Richard, or who has any information which could help to locate Richard, to contact the police.”