Richard Okorogheye: Police divers used in hunt for missing student

Police divers have been brought in to assist in the search of a missing student who was last seen almost two weeks ago. 

Officers investigating the disappearance of Richard Okorogheye have appealed directly to the 19-year-old to get in touch, saying: “Our only concern is your safety.”

Mr Okorogheye, who has sickle cell disease, left his family home in the Ladbroke Grove area of west London on the evening of Monday Mar 22, and was reported missing two days later.

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

Scotland Yard have issued a direct appeal to the Oxford Brookes student.

Detective Superintendent Danny Gosling, head of the Met’s Central West Public Protection Unit, said: “People can go missing from home for any of number of reasons. Our job is not to cast judgment but to work to find them and bring them home safely.

“My message to Richard is clear: Our only concern is your safety. You are not in trouble and have done nothing wrong.

“If you read or hear this message we would ask you to contact us, or someone you trust, to let us know you are safe. Your loved ones, and many other people who you do not even know, are very concerned.

“I would also like to thank the public for their continued support in sharing our appeals, checking doorbell and dash cam footage and passing on any information. As our efforts to find Richard continue, the eyes and ears of ordinary members of the public will be essential tools in our search.”

Police divers in Epping Forest on Good Friday


Police divers in Epping Forest on Good Friday


Credit: Metropolitan Police

Detectives keeping an open mind 

The Met said searches around Epping Forest have delivered nothing of relevance to the investigation.

It said detectives continue to keep an open mind about Mr Okorogheye whereabouts.

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

In a previously confirmed sighting on Monday March 22, Mr Okorogheye was seen boarding the number 23 bus southbound in Ladbroke Grove at 8.44pm.

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

Police said further inquiries have established that he then took a taxi journey from the W2 area of London to a residential street in Loughton.

He was captured on CCTV walking alone on Smarts Lane, Loughton, towards Epping Forest at 12.39am on Tuesday March 23.

On Thursday, the force said Mr Okorogheye’s phone has not been in use since his disappearance.

Mr Okorogheye’s mother Evidence Joel previously said that her son had spoken of “struggling to cope” with university pressures and had been shielding during the Covid-19 lockdown.

As someone with sickle cell disease, Mr Okorogheye would only leave the house to go to hospital for regular blood transfusions for his condition.

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