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Richard Okorogheye: Body found in Epping Forest in search for missing student, police say

Police searching for missing student Richard Okorogheye said a body has been found in a pond in Epping Forest.

The 19-year-old from Ladbroke Grove in west London disappeared two weeks ago after telling his mother he was going out to visit a friend.

He was last seen in CCTV footage walking along Smarts Lane towards the forest at 12.39am on 23 March after taking a taxi to Loughton in Essex.

Officers with dogs have been searching the area for the past four days and police divers were seen searching ponds on Sunday.

On Monday afternoon the Metropolitan Police, which has been leading the investigation, said they had been informed by Essex Police that a body of a male had been found.

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“Enquiries are underway to identify the body,” the force said in a statement.

“Detectives investigating the disappearance of 19-year-old Richard Okorogheye are aware.

“Richard’s family are being supported by specially trained officers and kept updated with developments. Officers remain at the scene and enquiries continue.”

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Mr Okorogheye, a student of Oxford Brookes University, went missing after shielding since the start of the pandemic because of his medical condition, sickle cell disease.

Shortly before his disappearance he had told his mother, Evidence Joel, he was “struggling to cope” with the pressure of studying online.

He left his home at approximately 8.30pm and boarded the 23 southbound bus in Ladbroke Grove at 8.44pm on 22 March. His family reported him missing on 24 March.

The Samaritans are a charity available 24 hours a day offering a confidential listening service to anyone in distress. To contact the Samaritans helpline, call 116 123. The phone line is open 24 hours, seven days a week.