Richard Okorogheye: Missing student seen walking from taxi checking his phone after cab ride from London to Essex

Police investigating the disappearance of student Richard Okorogheye have said they are investigating the 19-year-old’s mobile phone activity after a video emerged of him getting out of a taxi and checking his handset.

The search for the Oxford Brookes student from Kensington is now focussed on the Epping Forest area after police narrowed down his last known movements. 

Detectives believe: 

  1. Mr Okorogheye left his family home in the Ladbroke Grove area of Kensington on the evening of Monday, Mar 22
  2. He left his home and headed in the direction of Ladbroke Grove at around 8.30pm.
  3. Mr Okorogheye boarded a 23 bus southbound at 8.44pm. He was wearing all black and had a black satchel bag with a white Adidas logo, worn across his lower back.
  4. The missing teenager then took a taxi from the W2 area of London – which surrounds Hyde Park – to Smarts Lane in Loughton, Essex.
  5. At 12.39am on Tuesday, Mar 23, Mr Okorogheye is seen on CCTV getting out of the taxi and walking towards the area of Nursery Road and Epping Forest. He can be seen checking his phone as he walks. 
  6. On Mar 24, he was reported missing. 

Metropolitan Police Detective Superintendent Danny Gosling said on Thursday: “We’ve been making extensive inquiries into the disappearance of Richard and over the last few days we’ve conducted a number of inquiries in relation to his mobile phone activity and also his financial activity.

“As a direct consequence of that we are able to identify that Richard paid for a taxi from west London which brought him here (Loughton).

“And having spoke to the taxi driver and made some CCTV inquiries we’re confident that this was Richard’s last sighting at about half past midnight into the early hours on Tuesday (March) 23.”

Mr Gosling continued: “There’s a large number of officers, special search officers, that are focusing in and around the Epping Forest area which is close by to here, but there are other key lines of inquiry that we are still actively pursuing.

“So into his financial activity, that’s still a valid line, and there are a number of inquiries in and around his laptops and his computers which are currently at a laboratory being examined to see if there are any other indications or lines we can follow up.”

Asked if there was a working theory, he replied: “I think it’s important to keep an open mind at the moment and to pursue all those lines of inquiries to help us understand that.

“We will go where those inquiries take us and where the evidence leads.”

Asked if there had been any recent activity on Mr Okorogheye’s mobile phones, Mr Gosling added: “As far as we can tell at the moment, there’s been no activity on those that we’re aware of.”

Mr Gosling said there was “no clear reason” for Mr Okorogheye to have travelled to Loughton. 

Richard Okorogheye’s disappearance, in pictures

Richard Okorogheye on the night he left his family home


Richard Okorogheye on the night he left his family home


Credit: Metropolitan Police/PA

Mr Okorogheye walking to catch the 23 bus


Mr Okorogheye walking to catch the 23 bus


Credit: Metropolitan Police/PA

Police search teams search a pond in Epping Forest 


Police search teams search a pond in Epping Forest 


Credit: Dan Kitwood/Getty 

Police teams on horseback search an area in Epping Forest


Police teams on horseback search an area in Epping Forest


Credit: Dan Kitwood/Getty

In a pre-prepared statement, he said: “Our search for Richard is continuing at pace today – we are doing all that we can to locate him and bring him home to his family, who miss him dearly.

“Officers have been working tirelessly behind the scenes in an effort to trace Richard’s movements that evening, with assistance from specialist search teams, the Met’s dog and Mounted Branch units and colleagues from other police forces. I have a lot of officers who have requested to stay with the investigation over the Easter weekend, I have a teenage son myself and this strikes a chord. We all want to carry on and all our hopes are that we can reunite Richard with his family.

“Today’s searches are focused mainly in and around the Epping Forest area and local residents will notice an increased police presence while we carry out our enquiries. We have also been making door-to-door enquiries and leafletting the Smarts Lane area.

“The support from the public so far has been amazing so thank you. I am asking everyone to please watch the CCTV we have released – do you recognise Richard or have any information that may help with our enquiries? Please check doorbell cams and dash cam footage and get in touch. No detail is too small.

“At this stage we don’t know why Richard has come to Loughton, there is no clear reason, but we hope our enquiries will help us find out why. Again if you can help with any information about this please contact us.”

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